Journal of Cross-Cultural Gerontology

, Volume 11, Issue 4, pp 319–334 | Cite as

An examination of women's retirement: African American women

  • Myrna Silverman
  • Esther Skirboll
  • Joy Payne


This paper examines the retirement of African American women with regard to their attitudes toward retirement and experiences with retirement in light of their education, family relationships and job experiences. Twenty-one older African American women were interviewed between 1991 and 1993 in their homes using a semi-structured interview format and question areas used in an earlier study of older white women's retirement experiences. We identified several patterns of why these women retired and several patterns of post-retirement reactions. In comparison to the white retirees, they shared similar reasons for retirement in that they were anticipators, resistors, and continued to work far into their aging years. They shared similar retirement experiences in that many enjoyed retirement, although some felt a loss of status. There were some significant differences, particularly in the extent to which the black women were involved with their families during their work years and following retirement, and the number of African American women who went back to work following their formal retirement. These data suggest the need to examine the meaning of retirement as it varies within genders and racial and ethnic categories.

Key words

African American Retirement Retirement styles Women 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Myrna Silverman
    • 1
  • Esther Skirboll
    • 2
  • Joy Payne
    • 3
  1. 1.University of Pittsburgh, Graduate School of Public Health
  2. 2.Slippery Rock UniversitySlippery Rock
  3. 3.Alma Illery Medical CenterPittsburghUSA

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