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Impact of Retirement on Cognitive Function - A Literature Review

Journal article
Authors Linn Elena Zulka
Isabelle Hansson
Linda Hassing
Published in GeroPsych - The Journal of Gerontopsychology and Geriatric Psychiatry
Volume 32
Issue 4
Pages 187-203
ISSN 1662-9647
Publication year 2019
Published at Department of Psychology
Centre for Ageing and Health (Agecap)
Pages 187-203
Language en
Keywords retirement, cognition, systematic literature review
Subject categories Psychology


This article reviews the literature and aims at identifying patterns of findings regarding the impact of retirement on cognitive function. A systematic literature search following the PRISMA statement resulted in discovering 20 studies with longitudinal designs. The results revealed negative, null, and positive associations between retirement and cognition. The conflicting results could not be explained by variations in study characteristics (study quality, operationalization of retirement, analytical approach) or cognitive abilities. However, in studies in which occupational experiences were included as a moderator, there was a positive trend for cognitive functioning when retiring from physically demanding jobs. To gain insight into mechanisms behind the relationship between retirement and cognitive functioning, study designs need to take into account the impact of preretirement factors.

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