Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Family Environment


The overall purpose of this research was to investigate the economic position of elderly women. Two private mechanisms with potential effect on economic well-being for women--labor force attachment and financial support within the family structure--provided the basis for the research objectives: (1) to substantiate the impact of a women's labor force attachment on her contribution to personal economic well-being in retirement; and (2) to develop a model to predict the characteristics of an elderly woman as recipient of financial transfers from family members;The data were obtained from the 1979 wave of the Social Security Administration's Longitudinal Retirement History Survey. Regression analysis was the primary statistical technique employed;For Objective I, a sample of about 1,000 women in the cohort age 68-73 was used to examine influences of independent variables on older women's contribution to financial resources in retirement. It was concluded from this study that labor force participation of women, though it varied substantially depending on marital status, had a significant impact on her contribution to economic well-being in retirement. Married women showed the lowest contribution; widowed and divorced women showed the highest. Marital status and race significantly described a women's own contribution to available financial resources in the last life cycle stage. Education and occupational type did not;For Objective II, the sample of 1,878 elderly women age 68-73 was dichotomized to differentiate those elderly women reporting receipt of family financial transfers from those who reported none. Only the financial variables of current income and net worth were significant in describing recipients. Nonsignificant variables included health status, household composition, race, marital status, receipt of public welfare, recent change in income, home ownership, and current employment;The relationship between current income and receipt of financial transfers was positive. Empirical knowledge about transfers of good and services to elderly family members who are poorer is conclusive. However, this study indicated the same hypothesis may not be appropriate for financial transfers.



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Jane Menninga Schuchardt



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92 pages