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Increase in frailty of older workers and retirees predicted by negative psychosocial working conditions on the job


  • Kalousova, Lucie
  • Mendes de Leon, Carlos


Well-established evidence has shown that negative psychosocial working conditions adversely affect the health and well-being of prime-age workers, yet little is known about the consequences on the health of older workers. Our article examines the associations between declines in health in later life, measured as frailty, and negative psychosocial working conditions, and considers the role of retirement. We use longitudinal cross-national data collected by SHARE I and SHARE IV and focus on the respondents who were working at baseline. We find that low reward, high effort, effort to reward ratio, and effort to control ratio were all predictors of increasing frailty. The association between low reward and change in frailty was modified by retirement status at follow-up, with nonretired respondents in low-reward jobs experiencing the largest increases in frailty at follow-up. These results suggest that the effect of psychosocial working conditions on physical health may extend well past the prime working age, and retirement may have a protective effect on the health of older workers in low reward jobs.

Suggested Citation

  • Kalousova, Lucie & Mendes de Leon, Carlos, 2015. "Increase in frailty of older workers and retirees predicted by negative psychosocial working conditions on the job," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 124(C), pages 275-283.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:124:y:2015:i:c:p:275-283
    DOI: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2014.11.055

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. repec:aph:ajpbhl:1987:77:3:307-312_7 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Johnson, Rucker C. & Schoeni, Robert F. & Rogowski, Jeannette A., 2012. "Health disparities in mid-to-late life: The role of earlier life family and neighborhood socioeconomic conditions," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 74(4), pages 625-636.
    3. Väänänen, Ari & Toppinen-Tanner, Salla & Kalimo, Raija & Mutanen, Pertti & Vahtera, Jussi & Peiró, José M., 2003. "Job characteristics, physical and psychological symptoms, and social support as antecedents of sickness absence among men and women in the private industrial sector," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 57(5), pages 807-824, September.
    4. Morten Wahrendorf & Grace Sembajwe & Marie Zins & Lisa Berkman & Marcel Goldberg & Johannes Siegrist, 2012. "Long-term Effects of Psychosocial Work Stress in Midlife on Health Functioning After Labor Market Exit--Results From the GAZEL Study," Journals of Gerontology: Series B, Gerontological Society of America, vol. 67(4), pages 471-480.
    5. repec:aph:ajpbhl:1998:88:1:68-74_4 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Axel Börsch-Supan & Karsten Hank & Hendrik Jürges & Mathis Schröder, 2008. "Longitudinal Data Collection in Continental Europe: Experiences from the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in (SHARE)," MEA discussion paper series 08162, Munich Center for the Economics of Aging (MEA) at the Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy.
    7. van Vegchel, Natasja & de Jonge, Jan & Bosma, Hans & Schaufeli, Wilmar, 2005. "Reviewing the effort-reward imbalance model: drawing up the balance of 45 empirical studies," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 60(5), pages 1117-1131, March.
    8. Siegrist, Johannes & Starke, Dagmar & Chandola, Tarani & Godin, Isabelle & Marmot, Michael & Niedhammer, Isabelle & Peter, Richard, 2004. "The measurement of effort-reward imbalance at work: European comparisons," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 58(8), pages 1483-1499, April.
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    1. repec:eee:hepoli:v:121:y:2017:i:7:p:778-785 is not listed on IDEAS

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    Europe; SHARE; Working conditions; Aging; Frailty;


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