Timing of retirement and mortality - A cohort study of Swedish construction workers

Department of Sociology, Umeå University, Sweden
Social Science [?] Medicine (Impact Factor: 2.89). 05/2010; 70(10):1480-1486. DOI: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2009.10.043
Source: RePEc


Recent studies indicate that early retirement per se may have a negative effect on health to such an extent that it increases mortality risk. One type of early retirement often referred to in these studies is retirement with disability pension/benefit. Given the overall objective of disability benefit programmes - to help the disabled live socially and economically satisfactory lives, freed from exposure to employment health hazards and thus avoid further declines in health - the finding is challenging. This paper examined the relationship between timing of retirement and mortality using a cohort of Swedish construction workers. The mortality risk of disability pensioners - excluding those with diagnoses normally connected to increased mortality - was compared with the risk of those continuing to work. Although initial indications were in line with earlier results, it became obvious that the increased mortality risk of disability pensioners did not depend on early retirement per se but on poor health before early retirement not explicitly recognized in the diagnosis on which the disability pension rested. The results indicate that there are no general differences in mortality depending on timing of retirement. Future studies of mortality differences arising from working or not working must sufficiently control for health selection effects into the studied retirement paths.

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    • "However, later studies have suggested that retirement does contribute to deterioration in health resulting in an increased burden on the healthcare system [14]. The study of Hult and colleagues showed, adjusting for selection based on health, retirement had no effect on mortality [15]. Westerlund and colleagues showed that retirement had a positive effect on mental health and fatigue, but no effect on chronic conditions [16,17]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Several studies regarding the effect of retirement on physical as well as mental health have been performed, but the results thereof remain inconclusive. The aim of this review is to systematically summarise the literature on the health effects of retirement, describing differences in terms of voluntary, involuntary and regulatory retirement and between blue-collar and white-collar workers. A search for longitudinal studies using keywords that referred to the exposure (retirement), outcome (health-related) and study design (longitudinal) was performed using several electronic databases. Articles were then selected for full text analysis and the reference lists of the selected studies were checked for relevant studies. The quality of the studies was rated based on predefined criteria. Data was analysed qualitatively by using a best evidence synthesis. When possible, pooled mean differences and effect sizes were calculated to estimate the effect of retirement on health. Twenty-two longitudinal studies were included, of which eleven were deemed to be of high quality. Strong evidence was found for retirement having a beneficial effect on mental health, and contradictory evidence was found for retirement having an effect on perceived general health and physical health. Few studies examined the differences between blue- and white-collar workers and between voluntary, involuntary and regulatory retirement with regards to the effect of retirement on health outcomes. More longitudinal research on the health effects of retirement is needed, including research into potentially influencing factors such as work characteristics and the characteristics of retirement.
    BMC Public Health 12/2013; 13(1):1180. DOI:10.1186/1471-2458-13-1180 · 2.26 Impact Factor
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    • "Feeling satisfied with daily work and receiving attention in the work situation have been cited as important factors in the intention to extend working life (Bengtsson & Nilsson, 2004; Cobb-Clark & Stillman, 2009; Forman et al., 2005; Grahn, 2003; Nilsson, 2003a; 2005a; 2005b; 2006; Saurama, 2004 Schnalzenberger et al., 2008; Siegrist et al., 2007). People are reported to continue working because they are satisfied and attached to their career work and committed to their organisation, whereas financial incentives are not the primary force motivating people to work (Wang & Shultz, 2010). However, it is much better if older workers at the end of their working life go on working because they want to, and not because they have no other economic alternative (Hult & Stattin, 2009). "
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    ABSTRACT: In most of the industrialised world, the proportion of older and retired people in the population is continuously increasing. This will have budgetary implications for maintaining the welfare state, because the active working section of the population must fund the non-active and old population. Aim: The overall aim of this thesis was to obtain knowledge about older workers’ work and life situation in association with their planning and decision to retire from working life. Method: The thesis includes one qualitative and three quantitative studies conducted in Sweden. Result: Self-rated health was found to be a better measure than diagnosed disease of whether older workers believed they could work until 65 years or beyond. Health seems not to be a general impediment to working in old age if older workers are satisfied with their work situation and have enough time and opportunities to recover from fatigue. In one of Sweden’s most hazardous work environments, older workers were not injured significantly more often than younger workers. Good mental and physical work environment, moderate working pace and working time, and the right competence and possibility for skills development were factors determining whether older workers believed they can extend their working life. Attitude to older workers in the organisation, motivation and work satisfaction were factors determining whether older workers want to extend working life. Health, personal economic incentives, family/leisure pursuits and attitude to pension in society affected both whether people believed they can and wanted to extend their working life. In their final retirement decision, older workers considered: i) their possibility to balance and adapt functional ageing and health to a sustainable work situation; ii) their economic situation; iii) possibilities for social inclusion and coherence; and iv) possibilities for meaningful activities. Whether these requirements were best fulfilled in or outside working life determined the decision to continue working or to retire. 10 Conclusion: If it is desirable for society that people will to extend their working life, both the “can work” and the “want to work” factors need to be met. It is important to provide a good fit inside working life. This requires a focus not only on older workers, but also on organisations and managers in order to provide incentives that keep older workers in the work force.
    01/2013, Degree: PhD
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    • "This led to a considerable debate about the timing of retirement and its influence on health: is early retirement good or bad for your health? Several studies have shown that retirement at younger age has adverse effects on health (Westerlund et al., 2010; Hult et al., 2010; Burdorf, 2010). However, selection into retirement may obscure the effect of retirement on health. "

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