Life satistfaction and retirement: military mid-life career change



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Texas Tech University


The purpose of this research was to determine the effects of a mid-life career change on the life satisfaction of military academy graduates who were receiving military retirement benefits and the effects on the life satisfaction of military academy graduates not receiving military retirement benefits. Numerous studies have been conducted on retirement life satisfaction and retirement planning. Income, health, activities, and pre-retirement planning have all been determined to be significant explanatory factors of high satisfaction. However, there have been few studies that have considered the effect of a mid-life career change on life satisfaction.

This research examined the global hypothesis that the mid-life career change made by career military personnel is related to higher life satisfaction as compared to life satisfaction of persons with military experience who did not complete a career in the military. The sample consisted of 500 male alumni of the U.S. Naval Academy graduation classes of 1945 through 1965, which were divided into two groups: subjects who retired from the military with military retirement benefits and subjects who separated from the military prior to the time required to receive retirement benefits. There was a usable response rate of 58% from the sample. The Retirement Descriptive Index (RDI) developed by Smith, Kendall, and Hulin (1969) was used to measure life satisfaction across five dimensions: activities, financial status, health, people (associates), and general life satisfaction.