Health conditions that limit work are associated with myriad socioeconomic disadvantages and around half of Americans could face a work limitation at some point in their working career. Our study examines the relationship between midlife work limitations and two aging outcomes: longevity and healthy aging.
Using longitudinal data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics and restricted mortality data, multivariate logistic regressions estimate the odds of desirable aging outcomes around age 65 for individuals with various midlife work limitation histories in samples of around 2,000 individuals.
Midlife work limitations are consistently linked with a lower likelihood of desirable aging outcomes. Temporary limitations are associated with 59 percent and 69 percent lower survival and healthy aging odds, respectively. Chronic limitations are associated with approximately 80 percent lower survival odds and 90 percent lower healthy aging odds at age 65.
Even temporary work limitations can be highly disadvantageous for aging outcomes, emphasizing the need to understand different work limitation histories. Future research should identify underlying mechanisms linking midlife work limitations and less desirable aging outcomes.