Pain, Physical Demands at Work, and Future Work Expectations Among Older Adults in the United States.

TitlePain, Physical Demands at Work, and Future Work Expectations Among Older Adults in the United States.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2023
AuthorsAndrasfay, T, Fennell, G, Crimmins, E
JournalInnovation and Aging
Volume7
Issue10
Paginationigad089
ISSN Number2399-5300
KeywordsDisability, Retirement, Working Longer
Abstract

BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: In the United States, pain is becoming increasingly prevalent among older adults at the same time as policies are incentivizing work longer. Given that pain and physically demanding jobs are both linked to early retirement and they often go hand-in-hand, it is important to assess how the unique effects of pain and physical work demands may interact in predicting future work expectations.

RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS: Using Health and Retirement Study data (1998, 2004, 2010, and 2016 waves), we assess how pain and physical job demands influence future work expectations of 10,358 adults at midlife (ages 51-56), after accounting for sociodemographic, job, health, and financial characteristics.

RESULTS: Compared to men with no pain, activity-interfering pain was associated with low expectations of full-time work past 62 regardless of job demands, while noninterfering pain was associated with 62% higher odds (odds ratio [OR] = 1.62, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.35-1.93) of expecting not to work full-time past age 62 only among those with physically demanding jobs. Having both interfering pain and a physically demanding job was associated with increased odds of expecting not to work full-time past age 65 for men (OR = 1.25, 95% CI: 1.06-1.47) and past age 62 for women (OR = 1.18, 95% CI: 1.00-1.39).

DISCUSSION AND IMPLICATIONS: The co-occurrence of physically demanding work with pain-particularly activity-interfering pain-is associated with low expectations of full-time work past ages 62 and 65 for adults at midlife. Working longer may be feasible for older adults whose pain does not interfere with work, but unrealistic for individuals facing both pain and physically demanding work.

DOI10.1093/geroni/igad089
Citation Key13698
PubMed ID38094935
PubMed Central IDPMC10714917