Early retirement due to occupational injury: who is at risk?

Am J Ind Med. 2005 Apr;47(4):285-95. doi: 10.1002/ajim.20149.


Background: As the workforce is rapidly ageing, research on the consequences of occupational injuries in older workers is becoming more important. One adverse outcome unique to older workers, early retirement, has significant negative social and economic consequences for workers and employers. Although linked to poor worker health, the roles of workplace factors and occupational injury have not been well-defined.

Method: Changes in retirement plans attributed to an occupational injury were studied in a population-based sample of 1,449 New Hampshire workers aged <or=55, using a mailed survey. Questions addressed pre-and post-injury health, job satisfaction, work capacity, nature and severity of injury, medical care, employer response, work status, pain, and financial problems.

Result: Eleven percent planned to retire earlier due to their work injury, and their outcomes were significantly worse. In a multivariate model, pre-injury dissatisfaction with the job and with medical care, and poor physical and mental health status were related to intent to retire early.

Conclusion: These factors may represent opportunities for early identification and intervention with individuals at high risk for poor post-injury outcomes. Longitudinal studies are needed to confirm the importance of these preliminary findings.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Decision Making*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • New Hampshire
  • Occupational Diseases / rehabilitation*
  • Retirement / statistics & numerical data*
  • Risk Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Wounds and Injuries / rehabilitation*