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The factors influencing one’s choice to retire vary, with financial and health considerations being some of the main factors impacting or associated with people’s timing of retirement. The aim of the study is to investigate the differences in current health and health-related behaviours, such as smoking, drinking and exercising, between people who kept on working beyond state-pension age and those who retired before or at state-pension age.
Data from six waves (2003, 2008–2012) of the Scottish Health Survey (SHeS) are used. Descriptive analyses were used to characterise the population. Multivariate logistic regression was undertaken to analyse the relationship between retirement groups and gender, age, deprivation, marital status, housing tenure, general health, longstanding illness, cigarette smoking status, amount of exercise and mental health, using Stata.
Reporting poor self-rated health or having a long-standing illness was associated with increased odds of retiring before state pension age (SPA) in groups with a medium deprivation profile in almost all the survey years. For the least deprived there was little evidence of an association between poor health and extended-working-life, while significant associations were observed for the most deprived. An increasing trend was observed for both genders in the number of people extending their working life. Similar associations between reporting poorer self-rated health and extended working lives were observed for men and women. Distinct gender differences were observed for the associations with reporting poor mental health and no exercise. In the adjusted models, both were significantly associated with retiring at or before SPA in almost every year for women, whereas no significant associations were observed (except in 1 year) for men.
This study shows an increasing trend in the number of people extending their working lives and demonstrates significant associations between health and lifestyle behaviours and employment status past SPA. The results suggest that good health – both physically and mentally – along with either a need or a want to stay in employment could be important reasons for continuing to work beyond SPA.