Bridging the gap: The creation of continuity by men on the verge of retirement

Orit Nuttman-Shwartz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


The aim of this study is to examine the means by which men on the verge of retirement create continuity or bridges between their past and present in their autobiographical narratives. Based on Whitbourne's 'lifespan construct model of adaptation', 56 Israeli men on the verge of retirement were asked to relate their 'life stories' and 'life scenarios' (their vision of the future). Their bridging strategies were examined using qualitative structural analyses, focusing on the 'crossovers' to the future in the 'life stories', and those to the past in their 'life scenarios'. The findings show three main bridging patterns in the life stories and three in the life scenarios. Each was associated with differences in the ways that the men were coping emotionally with the transition to retirement, and pointed to the different ways by which they used continuity to cope with the anxieties aroused by their impending retirement. After trying to account for the greater frequency of bridging attempts in the 'scenarios' than the 'life stories', the discussion elaborates on the different bridging strategies and their associated features. The findings suggest that the identification of crossover patterns in life stories and life scenarios may be a useful tool for assessing a person's coping abilities and adjustment to difficult transitions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)185-202
Number of pages18
JournalAgeing and Society
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2008


  • Continuity theory
  • Life scenario
  • Life story
  • Narrative
  • Retirement
  • Structural analyses

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Social Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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