The survey Transitions and Old Age Potential (TOP) focuses on retirement transitions and the potential of older adults on the labour market, in civil society and in the family. As TOP concentrates on the birth cohorts from 1942 to 1958, that are currently transitioning to retirement or adapting to this new life phase, TOP defines itself as a ‘lifestage survey’ and as a supplement of existing studies in the German-speaking area. The coordination of the project was carried out by the Federal Institute for Population Research in Wiesbaden.
Together with project partners from several cooperating universities (Jacobs University Bremen, Leuphana University Lüneburg, SRH University Berlin, Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich and Columbia University New York) a standardised questionnaire was developed in interdisciplinary perspective. In addition to information on sociodemografics, the questionnaire also covers questions on images of ageing, labour market participation and transitions to retirement, informal activities (e. g. volunteering or familial support like childcaring or caregiving), health and well-being as well as personality traits.
In early 2013, 5,002 telephone interviews could be realized on the basis of this questionnaire. These are a representative sample of the German-speaking residential population (simple random sampling, German landline network sample) of the birth cohorts 1942 to 1958. The report on data and methods comprises detailed information on the study design, on the survey method and on the questionnaire of the study TOP.
The results of the first wave of TOP were made available for a broader public by a brochure. In cooperation with the project partners an edited volume was compiled in 2014 that presents the main results in peer-reviewed articles. Additionally, articles on the basis of the data of TOP were already published in peer-reviewed journals.
The data of the first wave of the TOP study can be retrieved as a Scientific Use File via GESIS under the study number ZA6597.
From November 2015 to February 2016 a total of 2,501 persons of the first wave from the year 2013 were questioned again. The second wave of the study TOP allows the investigation of individual potentials and transitions into retirement over time and their change. One focus of the second wave is on the explanation of the employment of older adults, which is to be explained by means of a theory of action, which is embedded e. g. in family and occupational contexts.
The first results of the second wave are presented in a brochure. In addition, a Policy Brief that was published in 2017 provides guidance and recommendations to promote the participation of older adults in the economy, society and the family.