Date: 2013-02-13
Time: 13.30
Place: CHESS library, Sveaplan, 5th floor

Government across the industrialised world are trying to push up retirement age for financial reasons, but the health consequences of such policies are largely unknown. While there have been public outrage against such measures in some countries, researchers have often assumed - in line with the literature on unemployment - that work is healthy, and retirement potentially harmful. However, in a series of papers using longitudinal modeling of many repeat observations in occupational cohorts in France, Finland and the UK, we have shown that retirement could bring substantial benefits in terms of subjective and mental health as well as health behaviours, whereas there appear to be no short-term effects on the risk of chronic disease. These findings indicate that raising the retirement age might be problematic both from a public health and a productivity perspective. The lecture will present these findings along with preliminary results from Sweden and the US.
Selected references:
• Jokela M et al. Health trajectories associated with retirement. Epidemiology 2010;21:284-90.
• Westerlund H, Vahtera J et al. Effect of retirement on major chronic conditions and fatigue: French GAZEL occupational cohort study. BMJ 2010;341:c6149.
• Westerlund H et al. Self-rated health before and after retirement in France (GAZEL): a cohort study. Lancet 2009;374:1889-96.

Dr Hugo Westerlund is a Professor and the head of the Divison of Epidemiology at the Stress Research Institute of the Stockholm University. His main research area is the relationship between work environment, labour market participation, and health, e.g. the health effects of organisational changes, sickness presenteeism, and retirement.

The seminar will take place at CHESS, 5th floor, Sveaplan, on Wednesday 13 February at 1.30 pm.