Sources of empowerment and mental health among retired men and women: An ecological perspective

Liat Kulik

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Aims: The overarching goal of the present study was to examine the contribution of various sources of empowerment to mental health during retirement with an added emphasis on gender differences. The empowerment sources that were examined corresponded with three distinct ecological systems: (1) Chronosystem—resource gains from the pre- to post-retirement period and satisfaction with the prior working period; (2) Microsystem—marital power dynamics (measured by the division of household labor and decision-making in the marital relationship) and the presence of a confidant; (3) Ontogenetic system—a sense of meaning in one’s life during the retirement period and an assessment of absolute resources. Method: The research sample consisted of 160 Israeli retirees (78 women and 82 men) who had retired within the previous eight years. Data were collected by the Panels Research Institute in Israel using the institute’s database of members. Participants completed an online questionnaire accessible via a website link. Statistical processing was performed using ANOVA and hierarchical regression analysis. Results: The results indicated that retirees’ reports of resource gains after retirement, their sense of meaning in life, their satisfaction with their working period prior to retirement, and their perceived level of absolute resources were all associated with mental health. Additionally, the more participants (both men and women) rated that the husband was involved in household labor, the better retirees reported their mental health to be. Gender differences were found in regard to some empowerment sources during retirement: retired women reported lower levels of mental health and prior work satisfaction compared to retired men, and men’s assessments of their participation in household labor and decision-making were higher than women’s assessments of their husbands’ involvement. The proportion of men who reported that their wives were their confidants was higher than the proportion of women who reported that their husbands were their confidants. Summary and conclusions: Overall, men experienced more sources of empowerment than women during retirement, but findings suggest that men’s emotional dependence on their wives is greater than women’s emotional dependence on their husbands. Based on the study’s findings, recommendations are offered to professionals who work with retirees.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)14-32
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Women and Aging
Issue number1
Early online date13 Jun 2023
StatePublished - 2024

Bibliographical note

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© 2023 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.


  • Confidant
  • empowerment sources
  • gender
  • marital power dynamics
  • mental health
  • retirement


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