Americans in or nearing retirement are going for security rather than the riskier pursuit of higher investment returns, according to a new AIG study.

Although economic growth is accelerating, the study shows older Americans are still "course correcting" their lifestyle plans, work and leisure expectations, and investing strategies, the study says. The AIG Retirement Re-Set Study looked at 3,426 respondents age 55 and older. It was conducted by Harris Interactive for AIG Life and Retirement in collaboration with Age Wave.

“The impact of the most difficult economy in generations has left a lasting impression, with Americans seeing their retirement savings jeopardized by low interest rates and high market volatility,” says Jay Wintrob, president and CEO of AIG Life Retirement, an insurance and retirement services organization.

“While the stock market and economy have somewhat rebounded, the confidence that many Americans once had has diminished,” he adds. “People are now looking for stable lower risk strategies that will provide the income and security they need in retirement.”

More than four times as many people chose saving enough to have "financial peace of mind" (61 percent) as a top financial priority compared to accumulating as much wealth as possible (14 percent).

Eight times as many people (32% percent) plan to look to ways to protect existing assets than those who plan to invest more aggressively to make up for lost time (4 percent) in response to recent economic and financial market uncertainty.

More than half (54 percent) expressed concern about their personal financial situation, saying they felt less financially secure than they did a year ago.

“Lessons learned have not been forgotten,” says Ken Dychtwald, CEO of Age Wave, a research and educational organization studying population aging. “Many people are adopting a new retirement mindset and are choosing to work a bit longer, thereby helping to make retirement more affordable. They are re-setting their sights on a revised, more achievable path to retirement.”

According to the study, 72 percent of respondents say the recent economic uncertainty provided a financial wake up call for them and 80 percent say they are now more cautious in their approach to investing.