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Intrinsic motivation for cognitive engagement in recently retired adults


Intrinsic motivation for cognitive engagement in recently retired adults

Bye, Dorothea (2012) Intrinsic motivation for cognitive engagement in recently retired adults. PhD thesis, Concordia University.

Text (application/pdf)
Bye_PhD_S2012.pdf - Accepted Version


This thesis examines how need for cognition, the dispositional tendency to engage in and enjoy effortful cognitive activity, predicts subjective well-being over time in older adults in recent retirement. Previous investigations of motivational factors in retirement have been cross-sectional; the original research in the two studies presented here is longitudinal. The goals of this thesis were to position need for cognition within need-based motivational theories, demonstrate its direct and indirect benefits to individuals over the course of two years in early adjustment to retirement, show how individual differences in motivational needs and their satisfaction through appropriate goal-seeking activities predicts emotional well-being for recently retired individuals, and provide suggestions of particular application to both individuals and professionals who are interested in the potential psychological challenges unique to the transition to retirement.
Research data were collected from recently retired adults (mean age = 60 years) who completed four consecutive annual waves of testing as part of the Concordia Longitudinal Retirement Study (2005-2009). Study 1 found that those who were higher relative to lower in need for cognition (i) reported higher levels of positive affect across time; (ii) were more frequently engaged in specific freely chosen activities involving creativity, internet use, and formal volunteering; (iii) scored higher on measures of problem-focused coping and goal re-engagement; and (iv) were more likely to have retired to pursue their own interests than for other reasons. Study 2 revealed that people higher in either need for cognition, competence, or purpose reported higher levels of positive affect at baseline; however, those initially higher in either need for cognition or purpose showed significant drops in positive affect over time relative to their peers’ lower stable affective trajectories. Interaction analyses revealed the counter-intuitive finding that those lowest in both need for cognition and purpose reported a significant increase in positive affect over time, though still having lower affect scores than those with significantly higher initial levels of both need for cognition and purpose who reported stable positive affect during the same period. Both social and motivational implications of these findings are discussed.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Psychology
Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Authors:Bye, Dorothea
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:Ph. D.
Date:21 March 2012
Thesis Supervisor(s):Pushkar, Dolores
ID Code:973687
Deposited By: DOROTHEA BYE
Deposited On:20 Jun 2012 19:47
Last Modified:18 Jan 2018 17:37
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