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Psychosocial working characteristics before retirement and depressive symptoms across the retirement transition: a longitudinal latent class analysis
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Stress Research Institute.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-3642-6391
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Stress Research Institute.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Stress Research Institute.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Stress Research Institute.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-2908-1903
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Background:

Retirement is a major life transition. However, previous evidence on how it influences mental health is inconclusive. Whether retirement is desirable or not may depend on work characteristics. We aimed to investigate trajectories of depressive symptoms across retirement, and how a number of psychosocial working characteristics influence these trajectories.

Methods:

We included 1735 subjects in the Swedish Longitudinal Occupational Survey of Health (SLOSH), retiring in 2008-2016 (mean age 66 years). They had completed biennial questionnaires and reported job demands, job control, workplace social support, effort, reward, procedural justice as well as depressive symptoms. We applied group-based trajectory modeling to model trajectories of depressive symptoms across retirement. Multinomial logistic regression analyses estimated the associations between the psychosocial working characteristics and the depressive symptom trajectories.

Results:

We identified five depression trajectories, of which in four groups, depressive symptoms decreased slightly around retirement. For a small group, the symptom level was initially high, but then decreased markedly in relation to retirement. Perceptions of job demands, job strain, workplace social support, rewards, effort-reward imbalance and procedural justice were associated with the trajectories, while perceptions of job control and work effort were only related to some of the trajectories.

Conclusion:

We observed positive effects of retirement on depressive symptoms in a sample of Swedish retirees, with a small group showing a clear improvement. A relief from poor psychosocial working conditions seemed to be associated with a more significant improvement. However, poor working conditions were also associated with persistent symptoms suggesting a long-term effect.

National Category
Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology
Research subject
Public Health Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-168219OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-168219DiVA, id: diva2:1307103
Available from: 2019-04-25 Created: 2019-04-25 Last updated: 2019-12-09Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Rhythm of the job stress blues: Psychosocial working conditions and depression in working life and across retirement
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Rhythm of the job stress blues: Psychosocial working conditions and depression in working life and across retirement
2019 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

A work environment characterized by poor psychosocial working conditions may lead to stress and mental health problems such as depression, a common and burdensome public health problem with significant consequences for individuals and for society at large. A number of psychosocial working characteristics have been found to be associated with increased depressive symptoms or clinical depression. This thesis aims to further examine how certain psychosocial working conditions predict depressive symptoms over time, in working life and across retirement. This was done by using several repeated measures from the Swedish Longitudinal Occupational Survey of Health (SLOSH) in 2006–2018.

In study I, we investigated how long-term patterns of exposure to job demands and job control were associated with major depressive symptoms. Those with high strain (high demands, low control) and active (high demands, high control) jobs were more likely to have subsequent major depressive symptoms compared to those with low strain jobs (low demands, high control). However, after adjusting for baseline depressive symptoms and various demographic factors, the associations did not remain statistically significant.

In study II, we assessed how job demands, job control and workplace social support were related to long-term development of depressive symptoms. A perception of high job demands and low social support predicted higher or increasing depressive symptom trajectories. In addition, negative changes in job demands, job control and social support were associated with increased symptoms, indicating that the onset of poor working conditions could negatively impact depressive symptoms.

In study III, we investigated simultaneous and lagged bidirectional associations between job demands, job control, balance between demands and control, social support, procedural justice, effort, reward, balance between efforts and rewards, and depressive symptoms, while controlling for individual time-stable characteristics. There were associations between all work stressors and depressive symptoms when measured simultaneously, except for job control. However, only efforts, were prospectively associated with depressive symptoms measured later.

In study IV, we examined how the same psychosocial working characteristics as in study III were associated with the development of depressive symptoms across retirement. Generally, depressive symptoms appeared to decrease across retirement. Job demands, job strain, social support, rewards, effort-reward imbalance and procedural justice, but to a lesser extent job control and efforts, were associated with a more negative and positive course of depressive symptoms across retirement. Especially, depressive symptoms decreased in relation to retirement for a small group with previously high exposure to work stress.

In conclusion, this thesis indicates that particularly perceptions of high job demands, low workplace social support and high work effort predict subsequent higher levels of depressive symptoms, and/or influence the course of symptoms both in working life and past retirement. In addition, changes in these types of conditions seemed to influence the course of depressive symptoms. Especially, the relief from previous exposure to work stress at retirement seemed to have a clear positive impact on depressive symptoms. These results contribute to strengthen the evidence of causality between these types of work stressors and depressive symptoms.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Public Health Sciences, Stockholm University, 2019. p. 85
Series
Stockholm Studies in Public Health Sciences, ISSN 2003-0061 ; 2
Keywords
job stress, psychosocial working conditions, job demand-control-support model, effort-reward imbalance model, organizational justice, depressive symptoms, longitudinal studies, trajectory analysis, latent class analysis, fixed-effects regression
National Category
Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology Occupational Health and Environmental Health
Research subject
Public Health Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-168220 (URN)978-91-7797-652-3 (ISBN)978-91-7797-653-0 (ISBN)
Public defence
2019-06-14, rum 207, Stressforskningsinstitutet, Frescati Hagväg 16 A, Stockholm, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

At the time of the doctoral defense, the following paper was unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 4: Manuscript.

Available from: 2019-05-22 Created: 2019-04-29 Last updated: 2019-05-09Bibliographically approved

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