Health status has been reported to change before, during and after disability pension receipt. These associations might be subject to temporal changes according to changes in policy, incidence of disability pensions and other contextual factors. We compared the perceived health around time of disability retirement among persons receiving disability pension in the 1990 s and 2000 s in Norway.
We linked data from two consecutive cross-sectional population based Norwegian health surveys, HUNT2 (1995-97) and HUNT3 (2006-08), to national registries, identifying those who received disability pension within 5 years before or after participation in the survey (HUNT2: n = 5362, HUNT3: n = 4649). We used logistic regression to assess associations of time from receiving a disability pension with self-rated health, insomnia, depression and anxiety symptoms and subsequently estimated adjusted prevalence over time.
Prevalence of poor self-rated health peaked around time of receiving disability pension in both decades. For those aged 50+, prevalence the year before disability pension was slightly lower in 2006-08 (74%, 95% CI 70-79%) than in 1995-97 (83%, 95% CI 79-87%), whereas peak prevalence was similar between surveys for those younger than 50. Depression symptoms peaked more pronouncedly in 1995-97 than in 2006-08, whereas prevalence of anxiety symptoms was similar at time of receiving disability pension between surveys.
We found no strong evidence of differences in health selection to disability pension in the 2000 s compared to the 1990 s. However, we found indication of less depression symptoms around time of disability pension in the 2000 s compared to the 1990 s.