WMU News

Psychologist to receive Fisher Dissertation Prize

Oct. 3, 2001

KALAMAZOO -- A psychologist who recently earned a doctoral degree from Western Michigan University has received an award for the best dissertation in the field of gerontology.

Dr. Richard A. Tackett, a limited licensed psychologist who has been in private practice in Michigan since 1992, was awarded the George and Beatrice Fisher Dissertation Prize.

The annual award is administered by WMU's Graduate College and given to the WMU doctoral candidate who produces the best dissertation on a topic in the field of gerontology. The Fishers, both WMU alumni, established the award in 1999 to promote greater knowledge of the aging process and a higher quality of life for the elderly. This year, it was valued at $750.

Tackett was cited for filling an important gap in the current literature with his dissertation on the "Correlates of Life Satisfaction After Retirement." While most literature concerning aging, retirement and the stages of life is focused on men, his study examined these topics in relation to women.

He found that life satisfaction was increased if retired individuals left the employment ranks at an early age, were either currently or previously married, had achieved a college education, were active volunteers, did not work part time, and were in excellent health and not depressed. Understanding which of these types of psychosocial variables contribute to life satisfaction can aid health and human services professionals in developing group programs and strategies to improve the quality of life after retirement.

In addition to the doctor of philosophy degree he received from WMU in 2001, Tackett also earned a master of arts degree from WMU in 1989 and a bachelor of science degree from Eastern Michigan University in 1972. Prior to pursuing graduate studies at the University, he was a secondary education teacher, business owner and real estate investor/developer.

For more information about the prize, contact Kevin Vichcales, coordinator of graduate student financial aid in the Graduate College, at (616) 387-8208 or <kevin.vichcales@wmich.edu>.

Media contact: Jeanne Baron, 616 387-8400, jeanne.baron@wmich.edu

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