When is quitting an escape? How different job demands affect physical and mental health outcomes of retirement

L. van den Bogaard, K. Henkens

Research output: Contribution to journal/periodicalArticleScientificpeer-review

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Abstract

Background
The demographic aging of societies and the need to adapt to this trend makes it important to gain insight into the way retirement affects different forms of health, and factors that influence this relationship. Pre-retirement job characteristics have only rarely been included in this type of research.

Methods
The regressor variable method is applied to two waves (4 and 5) of data from the Survey of Health Ageing and Retirement in Europe, a multi-national prospective cohort study. The final sample consists of 9092 people aged 50–70 at wave 4, of whom 1257 retired voluntarily. Health is assessed through the presence of physical health problems, general self-rated health and the EURO-D scale for depressive symptoms.

Results
The findings indicate that retirement from jobs with high physical demands leads to a relative improvement in general self-rated health compared with those who remain at work. Retirement from a psychologically demanding job is associated with less depressive symptoms. No effects are found for health measured as the presence of physical health problems.

Conclusion
Different types of measures for health yield different results for outcomes of retirement; pre-retirement job demands play an important role in how retirement affects health; physical demands seem primarily related to physical health benefits, psychological demands seem primarily related to mental health benefits.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)815–819
JournalEuropean Journal of Public Health
Volume28
Issue number5
Early online date26 Mar 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2018

Keywords

  • retirement
  • aging
  • mental health
  • physical health

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