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Work retirement and health

Research project

Head of project

Bengt Järvholm

Project overview

Project period:

2006-01-01 2014-12-31

Research area

Public health and health care science, Sociology

Project description

In most Western countries there are initiatives to have people to work at older ages and decrease the proportion who leave work through disability pension. This means that more elderly people with disease will be active in working life. There are major methodological problems in studying health due to early retirement because of early retirees are less healthy than those who continue to work. The work environment determines partly the possibility to work despite illness and persons with diseases are probably more vulnerable. In a previous study we showed that environmental factors influence the risk of early retirement among construction workers. In another study on the same study base, we found that the difference in mortality between those who received early retirement and those who continued to work mainly was an effect of differences in health before retirement.

This project is a continuation of a previous project (DNR 2005-677). The study is unique and consists of a large prospective cohort of construction workers (“Bygghälsan”) supplemented by information on future morbidity and disability through linkage with national registries such as Cause of Death Register, the Cancer Registry and the Patient Registry. The size of the study base implies high power also to study different time periods, outcomes and subgroups.

Our analysis will include new time periods and age groups to study the determinants of early retirement. We will also study how the health of people with various diseases before the early retirement pension is affected and to compare the importance of changing sector or become unemployed for health.

This project will increase knowledge about risks and the importance of early retirement, both in people who are relatively healthy as well as in people with more serious illnesses. It also increases the knowledge of health determinants.