Health consequences of retirement due to non-health reasons or poor health.

Affiliation

Han SH(1).
Author information:
(1)Department of Human Development and Family Sciences, University of Texas at Austin, 108 E. Dean Keeton St., Stop A2702, Austin, Texas, 78712-1248, USA; Population Research Center, University of Texas at Austin, 108 E. Dean Keeton St., Stop A2702, Austin, Texas, 78712-1248, USA; Center on Aging and Population Sciences, University of Texas at Austin, 108 E. Dean Keeton St., Stop A2702, Austin, Texas, 78712-1248, USA. Electronic address: [Email]

Abstract

OBJECTIVES: This study aimed to contribute to our understanding of the complex linkage between retirement and health by estimating health consequences of retirement transitions that were not driven by health reasons separately from those caused by poor health, while taking into consideration the health differences that exist between individuals who engage in different labor force behaviors. METHODS: Ten waves of rich data from the U.S. Health and Retirement Study (N = 9,347; 52,658 person-wave observations) were used to estimate within-person associations between retirement transitions and subsequent health, assessed with self-rated health and depressive symptoms. To account for the bidirectional relationship between retirement and health, retiree's self-reports of the reasons for labor force withdrawal were used to identify and parse out retirement transitions driven by poor health from the retirement transitions that were unrelated to health reasons. RESULTS: Retirement transitions were unrelated to subsequent health if the withdrawal from the labor force was driven by non-health reasons, whereas retirement transitions driven by poor health were associated with worse subsequent health. Retirement transitions that were phased through partial retirement were associated with worse health outcomes compared to transitioning from full-time work to complete retirement. CONCLUSIONS: Study findings suggest that retirement policies designed to prolong working lives may be implemented without adversely influencing health of older individuals, and potentially delay negative health outcomes associated with retirement for some segments of the older population for whom labor force participation is considered more valuable.