Does Retirement Get Under the Skin and Into the Head? Testing the Pathway from Retirement to Cardio-Metabolic Risk, then to Episodic Memory

TitleDoes Retirement Get Under the Skin and Into the Head? Testing the Pathway from Retirement to Cardio-Metabolic Risk, then to Episodic Memory
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2020
AuthorsOi, K
JournalResearch on Aging
ISBN Number0164-0275
KeywordsCognitive decline, gender, labor force, Retirement, Stress
Abstract

Many studies document significant causal impacts of retirement on cognitive abilities. It remains unclear if cognitive functioning could be hindered in post-retirement due to heightened physiological responses to stress. Using repeated observations of biomarkers, retirement status, and the word-recall test score from the Health and Retirement Study (n = 25,367; 15,343 among women and 10,024 among men), the study tests this pathway, separately for men and women. The study employs the two-stage least squares fixed-effects model that simultaneously fits three equations predicting the total-recall score, cardio-metabolic risk index, and retirement status. Being retired for at least a year decreases cardio-metabolic risk for men and women, and the resulting relief of cardio-metabolic risk improves cognitive functioning for women but not for men. Retirement does not lead to a downward health spiral as previously suggested; rather, it provides a much needed relief from stressors for those who are at health risks.

DOI10.1177/0164027520941161
Citation Key10938