Long-Term Effects of Job Strain and Mental Health in Midlife on Early Labour Market Exit
This study draws upon three longitudinal occupational cohorts from England, Finland and France (with follow-up between 1985 and 2013). The psychosocial work environment (measured with the Karasek job content questionnaire) and mental health (measured using GHQ and CES-D) are measured repeatedly during midlife. We then estimate the additive and interactive associations with timing of labour market exit at ages 50+.
In the Whitehall II cohort, both job control and poor mental health were independent predictors of labour market exit. However, the effect of poor mental health on labour market exit was similar for people with low and high job control, supporting only the additive – but not interactive – relationships between mental health and work characteristics. Initiatives that enhance mental health among older workers and improve the psychosocial work environment (e.g. reduced demand, increased control) may contribute towards European policy goals of extended working life.