University of Oulu

Minna K. Salonen, Mikaela B. von Bonsdorff, Hannu Kautiainen, Monika E. von Bonsdorff, Eero Kajantie, Niko S. Wasenius, Anukatriina Pesonen, Katri Räikkönen, Johan G. Eriksson, Work careers in adults separated temporarily from their parents in childhood during World War II, Journal of Psychosomatic Research, Volume 118, 2019, Pages 63-68, ISSN 0022-3999,

Work careers in adults separated temporarily from their parents in childhood during World War II

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Author: Salonen, Minna K.1,2; von Bonsdorff, Mikaela B.1,3; Kautiainen, Hannu1,4;
Organizations: 1Folkhälsan Research Center, Helsinki, Finland
2National Institute for Health and Welfare, Department of Public Health Solutions, Chronic Disease Prevention Unit, Helsinki, Finland
3Gerontology Research Center, Faculty of Sport and Health Sciences, University of Jyväskylä, Jyväskylä, Finland
4University of Helsinki, Helsinki University Hospital, Department of General Practice and Primary Health Care, Helsinki, Finland
5Hospital of Children and Adolescents, Helsinki University Central Hospital, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland
6PEDEGO Research Unit, MRC Oulu, Oulu University Hospital, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
7University of Helsinki, Department of Psychology and Logopedics, Helsinki, Finland
8Singapore Institute for Clinical Sciences (SICS), Agency for Science and Technology (A*STAR), Singapore
9Obstretics & Gynecology, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore, National University Health System, Singapore
Format: article
Version: accepted version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.7 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Elsevier, 2019
Publish Date: 2020-01-24


Introduction: Traumatic experiences, such as separation from parents in childhood causing early life stress (ELS) may increase the risk of adverse long-term health outcomes and biological age-related changes. This may have an impact on work career. Our aim was to examine long term consequences of ELS due to temporary separation from parents during World War II (WWII) in relation to work career.

Material and methods: The Helsinki Birth Cohort Study comprises 13,345 individuals born in Helsinki, Finland, between the years 1934–1944. From the original cohort, 1781 individuals were identified as being separated temporarily from their parents due to World War II. Information on date and type of pension was provided by the Finnish Centre for Pensions and the Social Insurance Institution of Finland. The cohort members either transitioned into old age pension at the statutory retirement age or retired earlier and transitioned into disability, unemployment, part-time pension or died before retirement.

Results: Those who were separated were more likely to have transitioned into disability pension (RRR: 1.26: 95% CI: 1.06–1.48), especially due to diseases of the musculoskeletal system (OR: 1.57; 95% CI: 1.20–2.07), or into unemployment pension (RRR: 1.25; 95% CI: 1.02–1.53) compared with those not separated from their parents. Longer duration of separation was associated with early exit from the workforce compared with non-separation.

Conclusions: Exposure to ELS may have an impact upon lifetime work career. Early interventions preventing exposure to ELS or mitigating its negative effects may prolong future work careers along with healthier aging across the life-span.

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Series: Journal of psychosomatic research
ISSN: 0022-3999
ISSN-E: 1879-1360
ISSN-L: 0022-3999
Volume: 118
Pages: 63 - 68
DOI: 10.1016/j.jpsychores.2019.01.014
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 3124 Neurology and psychiatry
Funding: H.B.C.S. was supported by Finnish Foundation for Cardiovascular Research, Juho Vainio Foundation, Signe and Ane Gyllenberg Foundation, Samfundet Folkhälsan, Finska Läkaresällskapet, Liv och Hälsa, EU H2020-PHC-2014-DynaHealth (grant no. 633595). The Academy of Finland (grant no. 257239 to M.B.v.B.); (grant no. 127437, 129306, 130326, 134791, 263924 and 274794 to E.K.); (grant no. 129369, 129907, 135072, 129255 and 126775 to J.G.E.).
EU Grant Number: (633595) DYNAHEALTH - Understanding the dynamic determinants of glucose homeostasis and social capability to promote Healthy and active aging
Copyright information: © 2019 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. This manuscript version is made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license