Transition to retirement impact on depressive symptoms: results from a longitudinal analysis within the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE) project
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Department of Public Health, Experimental and Forensic Medicine, Università degli Studi di Pavia, Italy
Department of Neuroscience, Rehabilitation, Ophthalmology, Genetics, Maternal and Child Health (DINOGMI), Università degli Studi di Genova, Italy
Publication date: 2023-04-27
Popul. Med. 2023;5(Supplement):A20
Background and Objective: In an ageing society, with people living long years after retirement, pension impacts on mental health outcomes should be carefully assessed. Scant evidence is available from longitudinal studies on the short and long-term impact on depressive symptoms and suicidal ideation. Methods: We conducted a longitudinal study based on the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE) data from 28 European countries collected between 2004 and 2020. To estimate the relative risk (RR) and corresponding 95% confidence intervals (CI) for depression (derived from the EURO-D scale as a binary outcome) and suicidality at seven different time intervals since retirement, we fitted generalised estimating equation models for repeated measures. Results: We selected a cohort of 8,998 individuals employed at baseline and retired at follow-up (median follow-up time: 9 years; maximum: 16 years). Considering the “year of retirement” as the reference category, the risk of depression ten years or more before retirement resulted being about 17% higher (RR: 1.17; 95%CI: 1.03-1.32), with a trend to decrease - tough estimates were not statistically significant – as retirement approached. Compared to the year of retirement, we observed a 9% (RR: 0.91; 95%CI: 0.82-1.00) to 11% (RR: 0.89; 95%CI: 0.81-0.99) reduction in risk in the following three years, and a gradual rise thereafter. Because their risk patterns did not overlap, suicidality and depression stood out as clinical entities that do not necessarily cooccur and require different preventive strategies. Conclusions: Longitudinal data suggest that transitioning to retirement reduces the risk of depression in the first years after the withdrawal from work, in the so-called honeymoon phase. As retirement seems to have an independent and protective effect on mental health, it may be identified as a target moment for preventive interventions to promote well-being in older ages and boost the observed impact.
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