Objectives: This study examined the association between perceived health and early retirement.
Methods: A cohort of 1748 men aged 42 to 60 years from eastern Finland was followed from 1984 to 2000. At baseline, the participants had answered a questionnaire regarding their general (as measured by physician diagnoses) and perceived health status. Comprehensive pension records were obtained from the Social Insurance Institution of Finland and the Central Pension Security Institute. The risk of disability pensioning in various disease categories and nonillness-based early pensioning was analyzed using Cox regression modeling.
Results: Over 11 years, 855 (48.9%) men received a disability pension, and 331 (18.9%) received a nonillness-based early pension. Only 273 (15.6%) received an old age pension, without previous early pensioning. At the end of the follow-up, 289 (16.5%) were still working. After adjustment for potential confounders, men with poor perceived health at baseline had a relative risk of 2.37 [95% confidence interval (95% CI) 1.79-3.13] for disability pensioning and the highest risk of disability was due to mental illness (RR 3.84, 95% CI 1.86-7.92), followed by musculoskeletal disorders and cardiovascular diseases. The relative risk of receiving a nonillness-based pension was 2.94 (95% CI 1.92-4.50) for this group.
Conclusions: Self-assessed poor health is a strong predictor of early retirement due to mental disorders, musculoskeletal disorders, and cardiovascular diseases. Moreover, the risk of retirement on a nonillness-based pension is increased among those with poor perceived health.