Retirees’ perceptions of goal expectancy in five resource domains

Cindy E. Tsotsoros, Anna Mooney, Joanne K. Earl*, Douglas A. Hershey

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The way individuals envision, formulate, and strive to meet their retirement goals is poorly understood. Research to date has focused mainly on goals associated with the pre-retirement phase, although arguably, goals during retirement are equally important. In this investigation, a conceptual replication and extension of the Retirement Goal Process Model (RGPM; Hershey & Jacobs-Lawson, 2009) is carried out. This extended theoretically-derived path model posits that individuals’ perceptions of the consequences of failing to achieve a particular goal will determine the perceived importance of the goal. Perceived goal importance, in turn, determines the thought and effort individuals are willing to allocate toward achieving the goal (goal striving). Goal striving, in turn, is driven by the perceived adequacy of available resources, which predicts the perceived likelihood the goal will be achieved (goal expectancy). This path model was tested across five retirement resource domains identified by Wang and Shultz Journal of Management, 36(1). 172-206, (2010): financial, emotional, cognitive, social, and physical. For analytic purposes, the sample (N = 698, age range 66–94) was divided into four different groups: younger and older males and females. Findings revealed that the theoretically-grounded RGPM accounted for substantial differences in variability in retirement goal expectancy, both across retirement domains and across groups. On a theoretical level, this investigation provides a synthesis of the RGPM with Wang and Shi’s Annual Review of Psychology, 65, 209-233, (2014) Dynamic Resource Theory. From an applied perspective, the results suggest ways in which retirement intervention specialists might profitably intercede with older adults in order to increase the likelihood of goal attainment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5819–5833
Number of pages15
JournalCurrent Psychology
Issue number7
Early online date1 Jun 2021
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2023


  • goals
  • retirement
  • expectancy
  • aging
  • resource
  • gender


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