advertisement
Home » News » Want to Stay Healthy? Retire and Keep Working

Want to Stay Healthy? Retire and Keep Working

A new national study finds that retirees who continue to work in a temporary or part-time setting have fewer major diseases and are able to function better day-to-day than people who stop working altogether.

Even more surprising is that the findings hold true regardless of a person’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.”

For this study, Wang and his fellow researchers looked at the National Health and Retirement Study, which is sponsored by the National Institute on Aging. They used data from 12,189 participants who were between the ages of 51 and 61 at the beginning of the study. The participants were interviewed every two years over a six-year period beginning in 1992 about their health, finances, employment history and work or retirement life.

In order to measure the respondents’ health over the course of the study, the researchers considered only physician-diagnosed health problems, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, lung disease, heart disease, stroke and psychiatric problems.

They controlled not only for baseline physical and mental health but also for age, sex, education level, and total financial wealth. The results showed the retirees who continued to work in a bridge job experienced fewer major diseases and fewer functional limitations than those who fully retired.

The participants answered a basic mental health questionnaire. The findings showed that people whose post-retirement jobs were related to their previous careers reported better mental health than those who fully retired.

However, these mental health improvements were not found among people who worked in jobs outside their career field post-retirement.

The authors say this may be because retirees who take jobs not related to their career field may need to adapt to a different work environment or job conditions and, therefore, become more stressed. Also, Wang has found retirees with financial problems are more likely to work in a different field after they officially retire.

“Rather than wanting to work in a different field, they may have to work,” said Wang. “In such situations, it’s difficult for retirees to enjoy the benefits that come with bridge employment.” The authors suggest that, when possible, retirees carefully consider their choice of post-retirement employment.

“Choosing a suitable type of bridge employment will help retirees transition better into full retirement and in good physical and mental health,” said co-author Kenneth Shultz, PhD, adding that employers who are concerned about a labor shortage due to numerous baby boomers retiring might consider bridge employment options for their retirees.

Source: American Psychological Association

Want to Stay Healthy? Retire and Keep Working

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2015). Want to Stay Healthy? Retire and Keep Working. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 22, 2018, from https://psychcentral.com/news/2009/10/14/want-to-stay-healthy-retire-and-keep-working/8966.html

 

Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 6 Oct 2015
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 6 Oct 2015
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.