Need for recovery and different types of early labour force exit: a prospective cohort study among older workers

D. Stynen*, N. W. H. Jansen, J. J. M. Slangen, A. de Grip, I. J. Kant

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


This study examines the relationship between need for recovery (NFR) and labour force exit (LFE) among older workers. Different types of LFE (early retirement, work disability and unemployment) are considered, and the role of potential confounding and modifying factors, including the availability of early LFE schemes, is examined. Also, associations between NFR and the intention and ability to prolong one's working life, which are known determinants of LFE, are assessed.

A subsample of older workers from the Maastricht Cohort Study was examined (n = 2312). The relationship between NFR and LFE was investigated by means of Cox regression analyses. Logistic regression analyses were performed to investigate cross-sectional associations between NFR and the intention and ability to prolong working life.

Elevated NFR was associated with a higher risk of overall LFE during a 4-year follow-up period (HR 1.39, 95% CI 1.09-1.78), and specifically with a higher risk of leaving the labour force through early retirement and work disability. When early retirement schemes were available, strong and significant associations between NFR and LFE were observed (HR 2.79, 95% CI 1.29-6.02), whereas no significant associations were found when such schemes were unavailable. Older workers with a higher NFR also had earlier retirement intentions and lower self-assessed abilities (both physical and mental) to prolong their working life until the mandatory retirement age.

Because this study shows that NFR is a precursor of LFE among older workers, monitoring NFR is important for timely interventions aimed at reducing NFR to facilitate extended labour participation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)683-697
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2019


  • Older workers
  • Need for recovery
  • Early labour force exit
  • Retirement intentions

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