Predictors of disability pension over a 10-year period for men and women

Scand J Public Health. 2007;35(1):78-85. doi: 10.1080/14034940600858474.


Aims: The number of people leaving the labour market with a disability pension is high and knowledge regarding risk factors is limited. The aim of this study was to explore work- and non-work-related predictors of disability pension among men and women and to estimate to what extent the gender difference in retirement rate could be explained by factors in and outside work.

Methods: A random sample of 5,940 employees registered in the Danish National Work Environment Cohort Study in 1995 was followed up with regard to labour market status in 2005 using the DREAM register, which contains data on all social transfer payments in the Danish population. Associations between disability pension and measures of ergonomic and psychosocial work environment, public employment, family status, and lifestyle were analysed by Cox regression and the difference in retirement rates adjusted separately for each group of variables.

Results: The results showed (a) that both men and women had a higher risk of disability pension when they had work that involved standing or if they smoked; (b) that women in addition had a higher likelihood if they were public employees, had low job security, or low social support at work; (c) that the higher rate of disability pension among women compared with men could not be explained by work environmental factors, lifestyle, or family situation. Public employment was the single factor that explained most of the difference.

Conclusions: Gender differences in exposures and predictors of disability pension were found, but few explanations of the higher rate of disability pension among women.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cohort Studies
  • Denmark
  • Disability Evaluation
  • Female
  • Health Behavior
  • Humans
  • Job Satisfaction
  • Life Style
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Occupational Exposure / adverse effects
  • Pensions*
  • Prognosis
  • Retirement*
  • Risk Factors
  • Socioeconomic Factors