Changes in health and health behavior associated with retirement
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionJournal of Aging and Health. 2015, 29 (1), 99-127. 10.1177/0898264315624906
Objectives: While poor health contributes to early work exits, it is less clear how early work exits affect health. This study therefore examines changes in health associated with retirement. Method: Survey data from gainfully employed individuals aged 57 to 66 in 2002 were used to assess changes in health status and behaviors associated with retirement (49%) 5 years later (N = 546). Results: Compared with workers, retirees were more likely to report improvements in mental health (odds ratio [OR] = 1.67), and less likely to report mental health deteriorations (OR = 0.56). Retirees were more likely to both increase (OR = 2.03) and reduce (OR = 1.87) their alcohol intake, and to increase physical activity (OR = 2.01) and lose weight (OR = 1.75). Discussion: As welfare states aim to extend working life to counteract repercussions of population aging, findings on possible health benefits for retirees may warrant more focus on the pros and cons of a prolonged working life.