Title

Late Life Unemployment and Life Satisfaction

1

Location

Armory Room

Start Time

29-9-2016 8:30 AM

End Time

29-9-2016 10:00 AM

Session Type

Research Paper

Abstract

Submission type: Research Paper

Late-life Unemployment and Life Satisfaction

ABSTRACT

Objectives

Unemployment combined with a soft labor market has been tied to early retirement decisions (Coile & Levine, 2011), and both unemployment (Browning & Heinesen, 2012) and early retirement (Calvo, Sarkisian, & Tamborini, 2013) have been associated with negative health outcomes. To clarify the nature of the retirement and health dynamic, this study looked at job instability factors prior to retirement to evaluate the effect of unemployment on post-retirement health. The specific goal was to assess the episodes of unemployment experienced between age 50 and retirement in order to answer questions of whether periods of unemployment delay or accelerate retirement timing and whether unstable late life working conditions are associated with negative health outcomes after retirement.

Methods

The sample included 1540 participants from the Health and Retirement Study who were age 50 and older who were actively in the labor force in 2002. Analysis included descriptive statistics, independent samples t-tests and multiple regressions. Demographic and health covariates were included to examine the effect of unemployment in late life on health outcomes in 2012 including self-perceived physical health, number of chronic conditions, depressive symptoms, and life satisfaction.

Results

We found no evidence for episodes of late life unemployment impacting health status after retirement. A significant relationship between unemployment after age 50 and life satisfaction during retirement was found, with lowered satisfaction following late life unemployment. Late life unemployment was related to a significantly lower age of retirement.

Conclusions

The impact of late life unemployment on life satisfaction during retirement is significant after controlling for potential negative effects on income. This finding suggests that late life unemployment, independent of the effect on retirement income, impacts life satisfaction. Life satisfaction has been tied to chronic illness (Strine, Chapman, Balluz, Moriarty, & Mokdad, 2008) and mortality (Gerstorf, Ram, Röcke, Lindenberger, & Smith, 2008) and is an important factor in healthy aging. Support for the premise that working can have a positive effect on health, even in later years, comes from panel level data showing that working during retirement is protective of health.(Kachan et al., 2015) The possibility of a brighter future might encourage unemployed seniors to manage the difficulty of the job search over resorting to early retirement for an income source. Qualitative research exploring the post-retirement effect of late-life unemployment will help clarify the relationship. The dynamic relationship between health, employment, and retirement needs further study in order to yield practical policy solutions.

Keywords:

Aging, Unemployment, Life Satisfaction

Relevance to Occupational Science:

The study of paid occupations, particularly the absence of paid occupation and the consequent occupational deprivation that might result, is a neglected area of occupational science. This paper presents evidence that a lack of opportunity to engage in paid occupations detracts from the well-being of older adults.

Presentation and Discussion Aims:

Presentation will include a brief introduction to the Health and Retirement Study and the opportunities for quantitative analysis from its deep reservoir of occupational related survey questions. Then a brief summary of the present research will be provided. Aims include highlighting the role of work or paid employment in the late years of life.

Additional presentation will introduce a qualitative follow-up study about unemployment, life satisfaction, and retirement.

Discussion questions will focus on proposed reasons for the relationship between unemployment and lowered life satisfaction in retirement. We will explore why there was no evidenced effect on health and depression and yet an effect on life satisfaction was noted. What different qualities of the experience and context might explain these results?

References

Browning, M., & Heinesen, E. (2012). Effect of job loss due to plant closure on mortality and hospitalization. Journal of Health Economics, 31(4), 599-616.

Calvo, E., Sarkisian, N., & Tamborini, C. R. (2013). Causal effects of retirement timing on subjective physical and emotional health. The Journals of Gerontology Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences, 68(1), 73-84.

Coile, C. C., & Levine, P. B. (2011). The market crash and mass layoffs: How the current economic crisis may affect retirement. The BE Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, 11(1).

Gerstorf, D., Ram, N., Röcke, C., Lindenberger, U., & Smith, J. (2008). Decline in life satisfaction in old age: longitudinal evidence for links to distance-to-death. Psychology and aging, 23(1), 154.

Kachan, D., Fleming, L. E., Christ, S., Muennig, P., Prado, G., Tannenbaum, S. L., . . . Lee, D. J. (2015). Peer Reviwed: Health Status of Older US Workers and Nonworkers, National Health Interview Survey, 1997–2011. Preventing chronic disease, 12.

Strine, T. W., Chapman, D. P., Balluz, L. S., Moriarty, D. G., & Mokdad, A. H. (2008). The associations between life satisfaction and health-related quality of life, chronic illness, and health behaviors among US community-dwelling adults. Journal of community health, 33(1), 40-50.

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Sep 29th, 8:30 AM Sep 29th, 10:00 AM

Late Life Unemployment and Life Satisfaction

Armory Room

Submission type: Research Paper

Late-life Unemployment and Life Satisfaction

ABSTRACT

Objectives

Unemployment combined with a soft labor market has been tied to early retirement decisions (Coile & Levine, 2011), and both unemployment (Browning & Heinesen, 2012) and early retirement (Calvo, Sarkisian, & Tamborini, 2013) have been associated with negative health outcomes. To clarify the nature of the retirement and health dynamic, this study looked at job instability factors prior to retirement to evaluate the effect of unemployment on post-retirement health. The specific goal was to assess the episodes of unemployment experienced between age 50 and retirement in order to answer questions of whether periods of unemployment delay or accelerate retirement timing and whether unstable late life working conditions are associated with negative health outcomes after retirement.

Methods

The sample included 1540 participants from the Health and Retirement Study who were age 50 and older who were actively in the labor force in 2002. Analysis included descriptive statistics, independent samples t-tests and multiple regressions. Demographic and health covariates were included to examine the effect of unemployment in late life on health outcomes in 2012 including self-perceived physical health, number of chronic conditions, depressive symptoms, and life satisfaction.

Results

We found no evidence for episodes of late life unemployment impacting health status after retirement. A significant relationship between unemployment after age 50 and life satisfaction during retirement was found, with lowered satisfaction following late life unemployment. Late life unemployment was related to a significantly lower age of retirement.

Conclusions

The impact of late life unemployment on life satisfaction during retirement is significant after controlling for potential negative effects on income. This finding suggests that late life unemployment, independent of the effect on retirement income, impacts life satisfaction. Life satisfaction has been tied to chronic illness (Strine, Chapman, Balluz, Moriarty, & Mokdad, 2008) and mortality (Gerstorf, Ram, Röcke, Lindenberger, & Smith, 2008) and is an important factor in healthy aging. Support for the premise that working can have a positive effect on health, even in later years, comes from panel level data showing that working during retirement is protective of health.(Kachan et al., 2015) The possibility of a brighter future might encourage unemployed seniors to manage the difficulty of the job search over resorting to early retirement for an income source. Qualitative research exploring the post-retirement effect of late-life unemployment will help clarify the relationship. The dynamic relationship between health, employment, and retirement needs further study in order to yield practical policy solutions.

Keywords:

Aging, Unemployment, Life Satisfaction

Relevance to Occupational Science:

The study of paid occupations, particularly the absence of paid occupation and the consequent occupational deprivation that might result, is a neglected area of occupational science. This paper presents evidence that a lack of opportunity to engage in paid occupations detracts from the well-being of older adults.

Presentation and Discussion Aims:

Presentation will include a brief introduction to the Health and Retirement Study and the opportunities for quantitative analysis from its deep reservoir of occupational related survey questions. Then a brief summary of the present research will be provided. Aims include highlighting the role of work or paid employment in the late years of life.

Additional presentation will introduce a qualitative follow-up study about unemployment, life satisfaction, and retirement.

Discussion questions will focus on proposed reasons for the relationship between unemployment and lowered life satisfaction in retirement. We will explore why there was no evidenced effect on health and depression and yet an effect on life satisfaction was noted. What different qualities of the experience and context might explain these results?