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Job strain and trajectories of change in episodic memory before and after retirement: results from the Health and Retirement Study
  1. Ross Andel1,2,
  2. Frank J Infurna3,
  3. Elizabeth A Hahn Rickenbach4,
  4. Michael Crowe5,
  5. Lisa Marchiondo6,
  6. Gwenith G Fisher7
  1. 1University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida, USA
  2. 2International Clinical Research Center, St. Anne's University Hospital, Brno, Czech Republic
  3. 3Department of Psychology, Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona, USA
  4. 4Department of Psychology, Saint Anselm College, Waltham, Massachusetts, USA
  5. 5Department of Psychology, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, Alabama, USA
  6. 6Department of Psychology, Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan, USA
  7. 7Department of Psychology, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Ross Andel, School of Aging Studies, University of South Florida, MHC 1323, Tampa, FL 33620, USA; randel{at}usf.edu

Abstract

Background We examined indicators of job strain in relation to level and change in episodic memory in the years leading up to as well as following retirement.

Methods Our analyses centre on 3779 individuals from the nationally representative Health and Retirement Study (baseline age 57.3 years) who reported gainful employment in an occupation for 10+ years prior to retirement, and who were assessed for episodic memory performance over up to 20 years (median 8 waves over 16 years). We used ratings from the Occupational Information Network (O*Net) to score occupations for job control and job demands, and to measure job strain (job demands/job control).

Results Controlling for sociodemographic characteristics, depressive symptoms, and cardiovascular disease, less job control and greater job strain were not significantly associated with change in episodic memory in the period leading up to retirement, but were associated with significantly poorer episodic memory at retirement and an accelerated rate of decline in episodic memory following retirement. The results did not vary for men and women or by self-employment status.

Conclusions Job strain expressed mainly as low job control is linked to poorer episodic memory at retirement and more decline after retirement. Job characteristics appear to have implications for cognitive ageing independent of relevant confounds.

  • COGNITION
  • OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH
  • GERONTOLOGY
  • Work stress

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