Quality of work, well-being, and intended early retirement of older employees: baseline results from the SHARE Study

Eur J Public Health. 2007 Feb;17(1):62-8. doi: 10.1093/eurpub/ckl084. Epub 2006 Jun 14.


Background: Given the challenge of a high proportion of older employees who retire early from work we analyse associations of indicators of a poor psychosocial quality of work with intended premature departure from work in a large sample of older male and female employees in 10 European countries.

Methods: Baseline data from the 'Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe' (SHARE) were obtained from 3523 men and 3318 women in 10 European countries. Data on intended early retirement, four measures of well-being (self-rated health, depressive symptoms, general symptom load, and quality of life), and quality of work (effort-reward imbalance; low control at work) were obtained from structured interviews and questionnaires. Country-specific and total samples are analysed, using logistic regression analysis.

Results: Poor quality of work is significantly associated with intended early retirement. After adjustment for well-being odds ratios (OR) of effort-reward imbalance [OR 1.72 (1.43-2.08)] and low control at work [OR 1.51 (1.27-1.80)] on intended early retirement are observed. Poor quality of work and reduced well-being are independently associated with the intention to retire from work.

Conclusion: The consistent association of a poor psychosocial quality of work with intended early retirement among older employees across all European countries under study calls for improved investments into better quality of work, in particular increased control and an appropriate balance between efforts spent and rewards received at work.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological / physiology*
  • Age Distribution
  • Aged
  • Aging / psychology
  • Burnout, Professional / epidemiology
  • Burnout, Professional / psychology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Data Collection / methods
  • Europe / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Odds Ratio
  • Quality of Life
  • Retirement / psychology*
  • Retirement / statistics & numerical data*
  • Sex Distribution
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Time Factors
  • Work / psychology*
  • Work / statistics & numerical data*
  • Workload / psychology
  • Workload / statistics & numerical data