Influence of retirement and work stress on headache prevalence: a longitudinal modelling study from the GAZEL Cohort Study

Cephalalgia. 2011 Apr;31(6):696-705. doi: 10.1177/0333102410394677. Epub 2011 Jan 10.


Aims: The aims of this study were to examine trajectories of headache in relation to retirement and to clarify the role of work stress and stress-prone personality.

Methods: Headache prevalence during the 7 years before and after retirement was measured by annual questionnaires from GAZEL cohort comprising French national gas and electricity company employees (n = 12,913). Odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals for headache during pre- peri- and post-retirement were calculated. The role of effect modifiers (work stress, type A or hostile personality) was tested by multiplicative interactions and synergy indices.

Results: An 11-13% reduction in headache prevalence was found during pre- and post-retirement, whereas decline was much steeper (46%) during the retirement transition. In absolute terms, the decline was greater among persons with high work stress or stress-prone personality than among other participants.

Conclusions: Retirement is associated with a decrease in headache prevalence, particularly among persons with a high amount of work stress or proneness to over-react to stress.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cohort Studies
  • Employment / psychology
  • Employment / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Headache / epidemiology*
  • Headache / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Migraine Disorders / epidemiology
  • Migraine Disorders / psychology
  • Personality
  • Prevalence
  • Retirement / psychology*
  • Retirement / statistics & numerical data*
  • Risk Factors
  • Stress, Psychological / epidemiology*
  • Stress, Psychological / psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires