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2016 Annual Conference

November 7–11, 2016

Albuquerque, NM

Learning Through Uncertainty: Older, Professional Men Coping Adaptively with Involuntary Job Loss

Thursday, November 10, 2016 at 3:30 PM–4:15 PM Mountain Time (US & Canada)
Fiesta 2 (24)
Session Abstract
The speaker will present findings from a phenomenological study that explored (a) how older, professional men cope adaptively with involuntary job loss, as well as (b) the role learning plays in this process. Results underscore the importance of self-regulation, time use, and social supports for learning through uncertainty.
Target Audience
Three groups in particular might be especially interested in this session. First, those who facilitate learning for older adults would find this session of interest, for results from this study suggest more nuanced ways of conceptualizing later life generativity. Second, public policy advocates would find this session worthwhile, as this presentation will touch upon barriers that participants experienced in their transitions. Finally, individuals with strong interests in transitional learning would find this session worthwhile, as this study’s conceptual framework includes a “dual process” grieving model from the death/dying literature to help attendees better appreciate the learning aspects of transitioning.
Session Description
The speaker will share findings of a phenomenological study that explored how older, professional men (i.e., 50 years of age and older who have obtained at least a 4-year college degree) cope adaptively with—and learn through—the uncertainties that accompany involuntary job loss. This later life phenomenon is an emerging example of transitional learning (cf. Rossiter, 2007), and this study’s findings suggest that self-regulation, time use, and social supports impact and inform how study participants cope with this phenomenon and meet the demands of this unanticipated life transition. Because coping adaptively with this unanticipated and involuntary life transition may challenge this population to make meaning of their circumstances at a time when negative emotions are likely to influence their meaning-making, learning becomes a major part of the adaptive coping process for this population. Hence, a challenge for facilitators of learning for older adults (e.g., educational gerontologists, coaches) is to understand how these men learn from and through their circumstances, and what types of learning experiences relate to adaptive coping. To that end, this session will invite attendees to explore what types of learning interventions might help older adults become more skilled and confident with adaptive change.

Primary Presenter

Brian Hentz, University of Connecticut

Additional Presenters: Enters In Order