Year: 2022 Source: Gerontologist. (2022). Published online 2 August 2022. doi: 10.1093/geront/gnac110 SIEC No: 20220665
Background and objectives: Employment and work transitions (e.g., retirement) influence mental health. However, how psychosocial contexts such as anticipation and uncertainty about work transitions, irrespective of the transitions themselves, relate to mental health is unclear. This study examined the relationships of work expectations with depressive symptoms, major depression episodes (MDE), and passive suicidal ideation over a 10-year period among the "Baby Boom" cohort of the Health and Retirement Study. Research design and methods: Analysis was limited to 13,247 respondents aged 53 - 70 observed from 2008 to 2018. Past-year depressive symptoms, MDE, and passive suicidal ideation were indexed using the Composite International Diagnostic Interview-Short Form. Expectations regarding working full-time after age 62 were assessed using a probability scale (zero to 100%). Mixed effect logistic regressions with time-varying covariates were used to assess the relationship of work expectations with mental health, accounting for demographics, health status, and functioning, and stratified by baseline employment status. Results: At baseline, higher work expectations were inversely associated with depressive symptoms. Longitudinally, higher expectations were associated with lower odds of depressive symptoms (Odds Ratio (OR) = 0.93, 95% CI: 0.91, 0.94). This association was more pronounced among respondents not working at baseline (ORNot working=0.93 vs. ORWorking=0.96). Greater uncertainty (i.e., expectations near 50%) was also inversely associated with depressive symptoms. Results were similar for past-year MDE and passive suicidal ideation.