Influence of health, lifestyle, working conditions, and sociodemography on early retirement among nurses: the Danish Nurse Cohort Study

Scand J Public Health. 2007;35(1):23-30. doi: 10.1080/14034940600777278.


Aims: The aim of the study was to analyze the relationship between health, lifestyle, work-related and sociodemographic factors, and older nurses' exit from the labor market to Post-Employment Wage (PEW). PEW is an early retirement scheme to make it possible for workers to retire at the age of 60.

Methods: The study was based on 5,538 nurses in the age of 51-59 who in 1993 completed a questionnaire on health, lifestyle, working environment, and sociodemographic factors. The survey information was combined with longitudinal data from the Danish Integrated Database for Labor Market Research compiled by Statistics Denmark. The follow-up period was from 1993 to 2002.

Results: Nurses who had poor self-rated health were more likely to join PEW compared with nurses who considered their health as good (HR 1.28, 95% CI 1.16-1.41). Low job influence, high workload, and physical job demands only marginally increased the probability of retiring. Nurses who have relatively low gross incomes had an increased probability of entering PEW compared with nurses with relatively high gross incomes (HR 1.60, CI 1.43-1.79). Having a spouse increased the probability of joining PEW, especially having a spouse who had retired or was unemployed.

Conclusions: The retirement age among nurses is influenced by a number of sociodemographic, work-related, and health-related factors. Poor health, low income, living outside the Copenhagen area, being married, having a spouse who is outside the labor force, and working in the daytime are all predictors of early retirement among nurses. Poor working environment only marginally increased the probability of retiring early.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cohort Studies
  • Denmark
  • Female
  • Health Status*
  • Humans
  • Income
  • Job Satisfaction*
  • Life Style*
  • Middle Aged
  • Nurses* / economics
  • Nurses* / psychology
  • Nurses* / statistics & numerical data
  • Pensions
  • Retirement* / economics
  • Retirement* / psychology
  • Retirement* / statistics & numerical data
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Workload*