Although retirement is generally thought to lead to a decline in social support due to a loss of social contacts with coworkers, the evidence for this is at best contradictory. This longitudinal study examined change in social support among 1,311 men, participants in the Veterans Administration Normative Aging Study, over a 3-year period. In general, long-term retirees reported the least quantitative social support, and the continuing full-time workers the most; however, change in workforce status produced no apparent effect on quantitative support over the duration of this study. In general, qualitative support showed no retirement effects. We also examined more specific patterns of coworker friendship and again found a pattern similar to that of general quantitative support. The findings support our earlier suggestion of a distinction between retirement as a transition and retirement as a state, and also support the convoy model of social support in late life and the selectivity theory of developmental adaptation to aging.
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