October 14, 2009
Working After Retirement Boosts Health?

Don't become totally unemployed in your old age if you want to keep your good health longer.

Retirees who transition from full-time work into a temporary or part-time job experience fewer major diseases and are able to function better day-to-day than people who stop working altogether, according to a national study. And the findings were significant even after controlling for people’s physical and mental health before retirement.

The study's authors refer to this transition between career and complete retirement as "bridge employment," which can be a part-time job, self-employment or a temporary job. The findings are reported in the October issue of the Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, published by the American Psychological Association.

"Given the economic recession, we will probably see more people considering post-retirement employment,” said co-author Mo Wang, PhD, of the University of Maryland. “These findings highlight bridge employment's potential benefits."

What's the direction of causation? Is work therapeutic? Or do healthier people have more energy and concentration with which to keep working?

Share |      Randall Parker, 2009 October 14 12:12 AM  Aging Studies

bob said at October 14, 2009 8:53 AM:

Selection bias seems the obvious explanation here.

PacRim Jim said at October 14, 2009 12:45 PM:

Or perhaps healthier people are more capable of working after retirement.

Working Guy said at October 14, 2009 3:49 PM:

IIRC, a British study from back in the day concluded that the number one correlate to risk to your health (or even to your death) was not being overweight nor having high blood pressure nor any of the usual suspects but rather ... a low-status job. Apparently the stress of being in a low-status position outweighed all the other stuff. The fat boss smoking a pack a day was at less risk than the trim, non-smoking janitor, for example.

And people who retire, esp men, often go from a higher-status job (earned over the years leading to retirement) to being, well, the lower one on their totem pole, taking direction from their spouse who runs the household.

Makes one wonder....

John said at October 14, 2009 5:31 PM:

This smells like a setup for Obama increasing the Social Security eligibility age. And since the science community has proven with the "global warming" hysteria that their relationship with the truth is based more on the possibility of further research grants than facts, it's not too far-fetched.

So when the Democrats bump the retirement age up to 70 or 71, they can chide us all with admonitions about how its really for our own health. Mark my words.

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