Presentation Title

Recreation, Leisure, and Late Adulthood: Examining the Benefits of Participation during Retirement

Document Type


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Abstract or Description

Presentation given at the Social Gerontology Conference. Current demographic trends reveal that Americans are living, on average, 30 years longer and contemporary older adults are entering late adulthood with more education, health, and financial resources than ever before. As a result, both men and women spend increasingly more years in retirement. Retirement serves as a major developmental transition and although heavily glamorized by the media, creates a substantial disruption in many people’s lives. Transition out of the workforce is accompanied by a change of social roles, a reduction in social convoys, and altered identity structures. Recreation and leisure have been shown to provide older adults an avenue to successfully negotiate the transition from the workforce to retirement and aid in the establishment of social networks and the development of personal and social identities. Further, the physical, social, and psychological benefits dramatically enhance quality of life during late adulthood.

The purpose of this research is to examine the recreation and leisure habits of older adults and determine their influence on contemporary aging. Specifically, researchers sought information on the influence of recreation and leisure on personal and social identity development, formation of social groups and quality of life during retirement. A mixed methods research design was utilized with older adults in various stages of retirement participating in focus groups and completing written measures. Findings will be discussed in terms of implications to enhance quality of life and well-being among America’s fastest growing cohort.


Social Gerontology Conference


Statesboro, GA