The study found that older people who hold temporary or part-time jobs after retirement enjoy better physical and mental health than those who stop working entirely. Those who continue to work in their original field also have better mental health than those who change fields, according to a study published in the October issue of the Journal of Occupational Health Psychology published by the American Psychological Association.
The researchers interviewed 12,189 participants, aged 51 to 61, every two years over a six-year period beginning in 1992 about their health, finances, employment, and retirement.
The findings are particularly significant, given how many older workers are continuing to work due to the economic downturn. The retirees who continue to work in temporary or part-time jobs, called bridge employment, suffer 17 percent fewer major diseases than those who stopped working completely, according to the study.
The second article is entitled, “Economic Downturn Taking Toll of Americans’ Mental Health: New National Survey Finds Jobless Individuals Four Times as Likely to Report Serious Problems.”
This telephone survey of 1,002 adults last September revealed that individuals who are unemployed are four times as likely as those with jobs to report symptoms consistent with severe mental illness. Also, Americans who experienced involuntary changes in their employment status, such as pay cuts or reduced hours, also are twice as likely to have these symptoms, even though they are employed full time.
The survey, conducted for Mental Health America (the country’s leading nonprofit dedicated to helping all people live mentally healthy lives) and the National Alliance on Mental Illness in collaboration with the Depression is Real Coalition. The president and CEO of Mental Health America said, “this survey clearly shows that economic difficulties are placing the public’s mental health at serious risk. Individuals confronting these problems should seek help for their problems – talk to their doctor, trusted friend, or mental health professional.”
Other key findings of the survey were:
- Thirteen percent of unemployed individuals report that they have thought about harming themselves which is four times more than reported by persons with full time work.
- People who are unemployed are six times as likely to have difficulty meeting household expenses – 22 percent report greater difficulty paying their utilities and almost half have significant difficulty in obtaining healthcare further compounding their situation.
- People who are unemployed are also twice as likely to report concern with their mental health or use of alcohol or drugs within the last six months than individuals working full time.
- Of those who have not spoken to a health professional about these concerns, 42 percent cited cost or lack of insurance coverage as the main reason.
- Although most of these individuals are employed, individuals with a forced change in employment are twice as likely to report symptoms consistent with severe mental illness than would be expected. They are also five times more likely to report feeling hopeless most or all of the time than individuals who hadn’t experienced a forced change.