Original article

Scand J Work Environ Health 2016;42(5):405-412    pdf full text

doi:10.5271/sjweh.3574

Pre-retirement physical working conditions and changes in physical health functioning during retirement transition process

by Mänty M, Kouvonen A, Lallukka T, Lahti J, Lahelma E, Rahkonen O

Objectives The aim of this study was to examine the association between pre-retirement physical working conditions and changes in physical health functioning during the retirement transition process.

Methods Follow-up survey data were collected among ageing employees of the City of Helsinki, Finland, at three time points: wave 1 (2000–2002), wave 2 (2007) and wave 3 (2012). We focused on those who retired full time due to old age between waves 1 and 3 (N=1658). Exposure to physical workload, occupational environmental hazards, and computer work were divided into quartiles and used as measures of pre-retirement physical working conditions. Physical health functioning was measured by the physical component summary (PCS) of the Short-Form 36 questionnaire. Repeated-measures analysis was used to study the associations.

Results Higher pre-retirement exposure to physical workload and environmental hazards was associated with lower physical health functioning before and after retirement. The differences in functioning narrowed somewhat during the retirement transition process, as physical health functioning in the higher exposure groups improved significantly compared to lower exposure groups. In addition, both high and low exposure to computer work were associated with lower functioning before retirement. However, functioning among those in the lowest exposure group improved during the follow-up whereas in all other exposure groups it declined slightly. This resulted into significantly lower post-retirement functioning among those in the highest as compared to the lower exposure groups.

Conclusions Retirees with higher exposure to adverse physical working conditions before retirement had lower pre- and post-retirement physical health functioning despite improvements in their functioning during the retirement transition process.

This article refers to the following texts of the Journal: 2011;37(3):213-218  2016;42(1):71-79