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Later-life employment trajectories and health

McDonough, P; Worts, D; Corna, LM; McMunn, AM; Sacker, A; (2017) Later-life employment trajectories and health. Advances in Life Course Research , 34 pp. 22-33. 10.1016/j.alcr.2017.09.002. Green open access

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Abstract

BACKGROUND: Despite the recent policy push to keep older adults in the labour force, we know almost nothing about the potential health consequences of working longer. Drawing on a life course approach that considers stability and change in employment patterns, this study examines the relationship between long-term labour market involvement in later life and self-rated health. METHODS: Our data are from the Health and Retirement Study (1992–2012) for the cohort born 1931–1941 (N = 6522). We used optimal matching analysis to map employment trajectories from ages 52–69, and then logistic regression to examine associations between these trajectories and self-rated health in the early 70s, net of socio-demographics, household resources and prior health. FINDINGS: Women prevail in groups characterized by a weak(er) attachment to the labour market and men, in groups signifying a strong(er) attachment. Men who downshifted from full-time to part-time work around age 65 were the least likely to report poor health in their early 70s. Women had the best health if they remained employed, either full-time or part-time. However, unlike men, they appeared to benefit most in health terms when part-time hours were part of a longer-term pattern. CONCLUSION: While our study findings show that continuing to work in later life may be positively associated with health, they also suggest the need for flexible employment policies that foster opportunities to work part-time.

Type: Article
Title: Later-life employment trajectories and health
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1016/j.alcr.2017.09.002
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.alcr.2017.09.002
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © 2017 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/BY/4.0/).
Keywords: Life course, Self-rated health, Employment trajectories, Gender, Optimal matching
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Pop Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Pop Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health > Epidemiology and Public Health
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1573524
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