Putting It Off: Family Breast Cancer History and Women’s Retirement Planning
Cathleen Zick, University of Utah
Robert Mayer, University of Utah
Cancer diagnoses have significant consequences that extend beyond the individual to family members. Our research builds prior research in this area by examining how a family history of breast cancer affects women’s retirement preparations. Using the stress process model, we generate and test four hypotheses. We find consistent evidence that women who have a mother and/or sister who had a recent breast cancer diagnosis are significantly less likely to engage in retirement preparation activities than are their counterparts who have no such family history. Moreover, the same effect is not observed when a first-degree relative has had a different cancer diagnosis. These findings suggest that the secondary stressors experienced by close female relatives of breast cancer victims may be manifesting themselves in behaviors and attitudes that have long-run consequences for their quality of life.