Health trajectories across the work exit transition in the 1990s, 2000s, and 2010s: the role of working conditions and policy

Maaike van der Noordt, Theo G. van Tilburg, Suzan van der Pas, Bram Wouterse, Dorly J. H. Deeg*

*Corresponding author for this work

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Purpose: We examined health trajectories of Dutch older workers across their exit from the workforce in the 1990s, 2000s, and 2010s, testing the hypothesis that pre-post-exit health trajectories of workers with favourable and unfavourable working conditions increasingly diverged over time due to policy measures to extend working life. Methods: The Longitudinal Aging Study Amsterdam includes baseline samples in 1992/1993, 2002/2003 and 2012/2013 with two 3-year follow-up waves each. Selected respondents were aged 55 years and over who exited from a paid job within the first or second 3-year interval, up to and including the statutory retirement age (N = 522). Pre-post-exit trajectories were modelled using Generalized Estimating Equations with outcomes self-rated health and physical limitations and determinants physical demands, psychosocial demands, and psychosocial resources. Results: Average work exit age rose from 60.7 in the 1990s to 62.9 in the 2010s. On average, self-rated health decreased somewhat over successive periods and did not show pre-post-exit change; average physical limitations increased substantially both over successive periods and from pre- to post-exit. No support is found for our hypothesis. However, regardless of work exposures, we found sharp pre-post-exit increases in physical limitations in the 2010s. Conclusion: Although these findings provide no support for our hypothesis of diverging health trajectories over time based on work exposure, they show that exiting at a higher age is linked to poorer pre- and post-exit health and to pre-post-exit increases in physical limitations, suggesting greater health care costs in the near future.
Original languageEnglish
Article number16
JournalArchives of Public Health
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2023

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