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Friends As Key to Happy Retirement

Friends As Key to Happy Retirement

Photo: Old men playing chess 

Strong social networks may be more important than having children and grandchildren around if you're hoping for a happy retirement.

Oliver Robinson and a research team at the University of Greenwich recruited 279 retirees from around the UK through a retirement website and online newsletter. The participants answered questions about their experience of retirement, marital status and the retirement status of their partner, whether they have children and grandchildren and whether they have active social groups, as well as a completing a 'satisfaction with life' scale.

Robinson said: "Retirement is a longed-for experience for many, and certainly a major life change for those who experience it. We wanted to investigate the factors that accounted for a happy retirement experience."

According to the researchers, the most surprising finding was that retirees who had children and grandchildren were not more satisfied with life than the retirees without them. Being active in social groups was strongly correlated with higher levels of life satisfaction however.

It was also found that the retirees who were married or in long-term relationships reported significantly higher levels of life satisfaction than single individuals, and those whose partners were also retired were more satisfied with life than those whose partners were not.

"Having active social groups is strongly linked to life satisfaction," Robinson concludes. "These findings support the importance of interventions designed to promote social networking in those who could experience retirement as a lonely, rather than fulfilling, stage of life."; Source: British Psychological Society

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