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Involuntary and Delayed Retirement as a Possible Health Risk for Lower Educated Retirees

Journal article
Authors Stefanie König
Magnus Lindwall
Boo Johansson
Published in Journal of Population Ageing
Volume 12
Issue 4
Pages 475-489
ISSN 1874-7884
Publication year 2019
Published at Department of Psychology
Centre for Ageing and Health (Agecap)
Pages 475-489
Language en
Keywords Health, Social inequalities, Retirement timing, Involuntary retirement, Sweden
Subject categories Sociology, Psychology


Recent changes in the pension system may contribute to larger social inequalities and more involuntary late retirement transitions due to financial need. Lower educated workers may have less control over their retirement and may need to stay in the labour market despite poor health. How different aspects of the retirement transitions are related to post-retirement health is unclear. This study investigates health differences across educational levels among 1280 retirees participating in the ‘Health, Ageing and Retirement Transitions in Sweden’ (HEARTS) study. Retirement age and involuntary reasons for retirement were considered as potential mediator and moderators of the social gradient in health outcomes. Results from a path analysis suggest that lower educated retirees are more likely to stop working for physical reasons, which is related to poor post-retirement health. Hence, involuntary retirement mediates the educational effect on health. Linear regressions highlighted the moderating effect of retirement age: lower educated retirees had worse health than higher educated retirees when their transitions were late. Hence, the double disadvantage of lower educated individuals becomes apparent. This study contributes to explaining possible mechanisms of rising health inequalities by focusing on aspects of retirement.

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