Study: Full Retirement May be Bad for Your Physical and Mental Health

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ChattahBox)— A new study finds that seniors who continue to work in the same field in some capacity after retirement enjoy better physical and mental health, than retirees who stopped working altogether. As the economic downturn is forcing many workers to delay retirement, this new study comes as good news. An early retirement may actually be detrimental to your health and emotional well being.

The study entitled, “Bridge Employment and Retirees’ Health: A Longitudinal Investigation,” used data from the the national Health and Retirement Study, comprised of 12,189 participants between the ages of 51 and 61. The study 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.

The study found that retirees who held down part-time jobs after retirement referred to, as “bridge employment,” experienced better overall health and mental stability, compared to retirees who did not work after retirement. The bridge worker group experienced fewer major diseases and fewer functional limitations than those who fully retired.

Regarding their mental health; the study found that participants whose post-retirement jobs were related to their previous careers reported better mental health than those who fully retired. However, retirees who held jobs completely unrelated to their previous careers did not enjoy the same mental health benefit.

Co-author Kenneth Shultz, PhD, of California State University, San Bernardino, says that the study should be considered by employees seeking to fill jobs on a part-time basis, to make use of the vast experience offered by older workers.

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

The full study can be found in the October issue of the Journal of Occupational Health Psychology.


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