Original article

Scand J Work Environ Health 1997;23(6):403-413    pdf

doi:10.5271/sjweh.262

Predictors of disability retirement

by Krause N, Lynch J, Kaplan GA, Cohen RD, Goldberg DF, Salonen JT

Objectives Disability retirement may increase as the work force ages, but there is little information on factors associated with retirement because of disability. This is the first prospective population-based study of predictors of disability retirement including information on workplace, socioeconomic, behavioral, and health-related factors.

Methods The subjects were 1038 Finnish men who were enrolled in the Kuopio Ischemic Heart Disease Risk Factor Study, who were 42, 48, 54, or 60 years of age at the beginning of the study, and who participated in a 4-year follow-up medical examination.

Results Various job characteristcs predicted disability retirement. Heavy work, work in uncomfortable positions, long workhours, noise at work, physical job strain, musculoskeletal strain, repetitive or continuous muscle strain, mental job strain, and job dissatisfaction were all significantly associated with the incidence of disability retirement. The ability to communicate with fellow workers and social support from supervisors tended to reduce the risk of disability retirement. The relationships persisted after control for socioeconomic factors, prevalent disease, and health behavior, which were also associated with disability retirement.

Conclusion The strong associations found between workplace factors and the incidence of disability retirement link the problem of disability retirement to the problem of poor work conditions.