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Employment and occupation effects on depressive symptoms in older Americans: does working past age 65 protect against depression?

Authors
Christ-SL; Lee-DJ; Fleming-LE; LeBlanc-WG; Arheart-KL; Chung-Bridges-K; Caban-AJ; McCollister-KE
Source
J Geront, Ser B Psychol Sci Soc Sci 2007 Nov; 62(6):S399-S403
NIOSHTIC No.
20033346
Abstract
OBJECTIVES: This article examines the effects of work status, occupational sector, and occupation type on depressive symptoms in older Americans. We partially controlled for the healthy worker selection effect by including disability as a predictor of both work status and depressive symptoms. METHODS: We analyzed a nationally representative sample of 23,247 respondents aged 65 to 88 from the National Health Interview Survey pooled over 1997 to 2000. We used structural equation models with latent variables to assess relationships between work/occupation and depressive symptoms. RESULTS: Older Americans who work had lower levels of depressive symptoms as compared to older nonworkers. Membership in several worker groups, generally higher status occupations, protected against depressive symptoms. After controlling for disability, the difference in level of depressive symptoms for workers versus nonworkers did not persist. However, workers in specific occupational sectors and types reported different levels of depressive symptoms even when we controlled for disability. DISCUSSION: The mental health benefit of working, among persons aged 65 and older, may be due to the healthy worker effect. However, the particular job sector in which older workers are employed matters. Socioeconomic status and financial versus personal motivations for working are potentially important explanations for differences.
Keywords
Workers; Worker-health; Age-factors; Age-groups; Sociological-factors; Stress; Worker-motivation; Workplace-studies
Contact
Sharon L. Christ, Odum Institute, 06 Manning Hall, CB #3355, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3355
CODEN
JGBSF3
Publication Date
20071101
Document Type
Journal Article
Email Address
slchrist@email.unc.edu
Funding Type
Grant
Fiscal Year
2008
NTIS Accession No.
NTIS Price
Identifying No.
Grant-Number-R01-OH-003915
Issue of Publication
6
ISSN
1079-5014
Source Name
The Journals of Gerontology Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences
State
FL; NC
Performing Organization
University of Miami School of Medicine, Miami, Florida
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