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Original research
Does working beyond the statutory retirement age have an impact on health and functional capacity? The Finnish Retirement and Aging cohort study
  1. Prakash KC1,2,
  2. Marianna Virtanen3,
  3. Jaana Pentti1,2,4,
  4. Mika Kivimäki4,5,
  5. Jussi Vahtera1,2,
  6. Sari Stenholm1,2
  1. 1 Department of Public Health, University of Turku and Turku University Hospital, Turku, Finland
  2. 2 Centre for Population Health Research, University of Turku and Turku University Hospital, Turku, Finland
  3. 3 School of Educational Sciences and Psychology, University of Eastern Finland, Joensuu, Finland
  4. 4 Clinicum, Faculty of Medicine, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland
  5. 5 Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University College London, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Prakash KC, Department of Public Health, University of Turku and Turku University Hospital, Turku 20500, Finland; prakashkc10{at}


Objective This study aimed to compare the development of self-rated health, psychological distress and physical functioning between those retired on time and those who continued working beyond the individual retirement age.

Methods The study population consisted of 2340 public sector employees from the Finnish Retirement and Aging study. Participants were categorised into no extension of employment (retired at the individual retirement date or <3 months past) and extension of employment (≥12 months). Propensity score matching (1:1 ratio) was used to identify comparable group of participants in the no-extension (n=574) and extension (n=574) groups by taking into account preretirement characteristics and their interactions.

Results The prevalence of suboptimal self-rated health and psychological distress changed a little among the extension group during the follow-up from 1 year before (T1) to 18 months (T2) and 30 months (T3) after individual pensionable date. Compared with no extension, the risk of having suboptimal self-rated health in the extension group was 0.89 (95% CI 0.68 to 1.17) at T1, 1.16 (95% CI 0.88 to 1.53) at T2 and 0.96 (95% CI 0.68 to 1.37) at T3. For psychological distress, the corresponding risk ratios were 0.93 (0.65 to 1.32), 1.15 (0.78 to 1.69) and 1.04 (0.61 to 1.79). The mean differences in the number of physical functioning difficulties between the extension and no-extension groups were 0.06 (−0.16 to 0.29) at T1, 0.05 (−0.18 to 0.27) at T2 and −0.11 (−0.39 to 0.17) at T3.

Conclusions This study found no evidence that voluntarily extending the working career beyond retirement age would pose a risk to health and physical functioning among ageing workers.

  • epidemiology
  • public health
  • ageing
  • longitudinal studies
  • retired

Data availability statement

Data are available upon reasonable request.

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Data availability statement

Data are available upon reasonable request.

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  • Contributors SS and MV conceptualised and planned the study. PKC drafted the manuscript. PKC and JP performed the statistical analysis. JV and MK supported the planning and conceptualised the study. All authors contributed to revision of the manuscript until the submission process.

  • Funding This work was supported by the Academy of Finland (286294, 319246 and 294154 to SS; 321409 and 329240 to JV), Finnish Work Environment Fund (118060 to SS; 190172 to MV) and NordForsk (70521 to JV). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.

  • 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.