Depression increases the risk of disability pension and represents a health related strain that pushes people out of the labour market. Although early voluntary retirement is an important alternative to disability pension, few studies have examined whether depressive symptoms incur early voluntary retirement. This study examined whether depressive symptoms and changes in depressive symptoms over time were associated with early retirement intentions.
We used a cross-sectional (n = 4041) and a prospective (n = 2444) population from a longitudinal study on employees of the Danish eldercare sector. Depressive symptoms were measured by the Major Depression Inventory and the impact of different levels of depressive symptoms (severe, moderately severe, moderate, mild and none) and changes in depressive symptoms (worsened, improved, unaffected) on early retirement intentions were analysed with multinomial logistic regression.
In the cross-sectional analysis all levels of depressive symptoms were significantly associated with retirement intentions before the age of 62 years. Similar associations were found prospectively. Depressive symptoms and worsened depressive symptoms in the two year period from baseline to follow-up were also significantly associated with early retirement intentions before age 62. The prospective associations lost statistical significance when controlling for early retirement intentions at baseline.
The whole spectrum of depressive symptoms represents a health related strain that can incur intentions to retire early by early voluntary retirement. In order to change the intentions to retire early, the work related consequences of depressive symptoms should be addressed as early in the treatment process as possible.
Cites: Scand J Public Health. 2007;35(1):23-3017366084