Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Effect of retirement on cognitive function: a systematic review and meta-analysis
  1. Celia Alvarez-Bueno1,2,
  2. Ivan Cavero-Redondo1,2,
  3. Estela Jimenez-Lopez1,3,4,
  4. Maria Eugenia Visier-Alfonso1,
  5. Irene Sequi-Dominguez1,
  6. Vicente Martinez-Vizcaino1,5
  1. 1 Universidad de Castilla - La Mancha, Health and Social Research Center, Cuenca, Spain
  2. 2 Universidad Politécnica y Artística del Paraguay, Asunción, Paraguay
  3. 3 Department of Psychiatry Hospital Virgen de La Luz, Cuenca, Spain
  4. 4 CIBERSAM (Biomedical Research Networking Centre in Mental Health), Barcelona, Spain
  5. 5 5Universidad Autónoma de Chile, Facultad de Ciencias de la Salud, Talca, Chile
  1. Correspondence to Ivan Cavero-Redondo, Universidad de Castilla-La Mancha - Campus de Cuenca, Cuenca 16071, Spain; Ivan.Cavero{at}


The study aimed to determine the longitudinal association between retirement and cognitive function, including global cognition and memory-related skills. This is a systematic review of longitudinal studies on the association between retirement and cognitive function, using Medline (via PubMed), Scopus, Web of Science and PsycINFO databases from inception to April 2020 and longitudinal studies on the association between retirement and cognitive function. The Newcastle-Ottawa Scale was used to assess risk of bias of included studies. Effect size (ES) and 95% CI were calculated using Cohen’s d index. Meta-regressions were calculated on the basis of sample characteristics: percentage of women, years of follow-up and age at baseline. A total of 23 longitudinal studies were included in this systematic review. The pooled ES for the association of retirement with global cognition and memory-related skills was −0.01 (95% CI −0.02 to 0.00; I2: 0.0%) and −0.09 (95% CI −0.16 to 0.01; I2: 93%), respectively. Meta-regression analyses showed that length of follow-up, percentage of women in the sample and mean age at baseline did not influence the longitudinal association between retirement and adults’ memory-related skills. The results of this study indicate that retirement has no negative effects on adults’ global cognition and slightly adversely influences memory-related skills. Moreover, this association does not seem to be influenced by some demographic and study characteristics.

  • retired
  • ageing

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.


  • Contributors Concept and design: VM-V, CA-B, EJ-L, MEV-A, IC-R and IS-D. Acquisition, analysis or interpretation of data: VM-V, CA-B, EJ-L and MEV-A. Drafting of the manuscript: VM-V, CA-B and IC-R. Critical revision of the manuscript for important intellectual content: VM-V, CA-B, MEV-A, EJ-L, IC-R and IS-D. Statistical analysis: CA-B and VM-V. Obtained funding: VM-V and CA-B. Administrative, technical or material support: MEV-A and IS-D. Supervision: CA-B, MEV-A, EJ-L and IC-R.

  • Funding The study was funded by FEDER funds (SBPLY/17/180501/000533).

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Supplemental material This content has been supplied by the author(s). It has not been vetted by BMJ Publishing Group Limited (BMJ) and may not have been peer-reviewed. Any opinions or recommendations discussed are solely those of the author(s) and are not endorsed by BMJ. BMJ disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on the content. Where the content includes any translated material, BMJ does not warrant the accuracy and reliability of the translations (including but not limited to local regulations, clinical guidelines, terminology, drug names and drug dosages), and is not responsible for any error and/or omissions arising from translation and adaptation or otherwise.