University of Oulu

Haapanen MJ, von Bonsdorff MB, Perttilä NM, et al Retirement age and type as predictors of frailty: a retrospective cohort study of older businessmen BMJ Open 2020;10:e037722. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2020-037722

Retirement age and type as predictors of frailty: a retrospective cohort study of older businessmen

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Author: Haapanen, Markus J1,2; von Bonsdorff, Mikaela B2,3; Perttilä, Niko M1;
Organizations: 1Department of General Practice and Primary Health Care, University of Helsinki and Helsinki University Hospital, Helsinki, Finland
2Folkhälsan Research Centre, Helsinki, Finland
3Department of Health Sciences, Gerontology Research Centre, University of Jyväskylä Faculty of Sport and Health Sciences, Jyvaskyla, Finland
4School of Business and Kokkola University Consorium Chydenius, University of Vaasa, Vaasa, Finland
5Department of Management and Leadership, Jyväskylä University School of Business and Economics, Jyväskylä, Finland
66Department of Medicine, University of Helsinki and Helsinki University Hospital, Helsinki, Finland
7Center for Life Course Health Research, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.5 MB)
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Language: English
Published: BMJ, 2020
Publish Date: 2021-03-08


Objectives: To study the association between retirement characteristics and frailty in a homogenous population of former business executives.

Design: Cross-sectional cohort study using data from the Helsinki Businessmen Study.

Setting: Helsinki, Finland.

Participants: 1324 Caucasian men, born in 1919–1934, who had worked as business executives and managers and of whom 95.9% had retired by the year 2000. Questions on age at and type of retirement, lifestyle and chronic conditions were embedded in questionnaires.

Primary and secondary outcome measures: Frailty assessed according to a modified phenotype definition at mean age 73.3 years.

Results: Mean age at retirement was 61.3 years (SD 4.3) and 37.1% had retired due to old age. The prevalence of frailty was lowest among men retiring at ages 66–67 years but increased among those who worked up to age 70 years or older. Compared with men who retired before age 55 years, those retiring at ages 58–69 years were at decreased risk of frailty in old age relative to non-frailty (adjusted ORs 0.07–0.29, p<0.05). Compared with men who transitioned into old age retirement, those who retired due to disability were at increased risk of prefrailty (adjusted OR 1.53, 95% CI 1.01 to 2.32) and frailty (adjusted OR 3.52, 95% CI 1.97 to 6.29), relative to non-frailty.

Conclusion: Exiting working life early and continuing to be occupationally active until age 70 years and older were both associated with increased risk of frailty among the men. Promotion of longer work careers could, however, promote healthier ageing, as the lowest prevalence of frailty was observed in former business executives who retired at ages 66–67 years.

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Series: BMJ open
ISSN: 2044-6055
ISSN-E: 2044-6055
ISSN-L: 2044-6055
Volume: 10
Issue: 12
Article number: e037722
DOI: 10.1136/bmjopen-2020-037722
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 3142 Public health care science, environmental and occupational health
Funding: The Academy of Finland supported MBvB with grant 257239. The Academy of Finland supported TT with grant 286536. The Academy of Finland supported MEvB with grants 294530, 307114 and 303920. TES is supported by the Helsinki University Hospital, Department of Medicine.
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