Chronic conditions and self-perceived health among older employees in relation to indicators of labour participation and retirement over time

J.G.M. Jennen*, N.W.H. Jansen, L.G.P.M. van Amelsvoort, J.J.M. Slangen, I. Kant

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


BACKGROUND: A significant proportion of older employees leave the labour market early, amongst others via unemployment or disability benefits, implying that health might affect possibilities to extend working life.OBJECTIVE: This study 1) examined associations between chronic conditions (subtypes) and self-perceived health (SPH), independently, and indicators of labour participation and retirement over six-year follow-up among older employees, and 2) explored the impact of differences between prevalent and incident presence of chronic condition(s) in this relation.METHODS: Older workers (aged > 45 years) included in the Maastricht Cohort Study were studied (n = 1,763). The Health and Work Performance Questionnaire assessed chronic conditions and one item from the Short Form health survey-36 assessed SPH. Cox regression analyses assessed associations between chronic conditions and SPH, independently, and retirement intentions, employment status, decreasing working hours, and changes in work over time.RESULTS: Employees with coexistent physical-mental chronic conditions showed higher risks to lose employment and to receive a disability benefit (HR 1.85, 95% CI 1.23-2.78; HR 8.63, 95% CI 2.47-30.11) over time compared to healthy employees. No statistically significant associations were found between SPH and indicators of labour participation and retirement over time. Having chronic condition(s) was cross-sectionally associated with lower SPH scores and larger proportion of part-timers - compared to healthy employees.CONCLUSIONS: Chronic condition(s) among older employees were substantially associated with indicators of labour participation and retirement over time. The role of SPH was mainly instantaneous. Findings provide valuable input for preventive measures aiming to prevent an early labour market exit of older employees.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)133-150
Number of pages18
JournalWORK-A Journal of Prevention Assessment & Rehabilitation
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • EXIT
  • ILL
  • Objective health
  • SF-36
  • ageing workers
  • observational
  • prospective
  • subjective health

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