TitleSocioeconomic and psychosocial adversity in midlife and depressive symptoms post retirement: a 21-year follow-up of the Whitehall II study.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsVirtanen, M, Ferrie, JE, Batty, GD, Elovainio, M, Jokela, M, Vahtera, J, Singh-Manoux, A, Kivimäki, M
JournalAm J Geriatr Psychiatry
Date Published01/2015
KeywordsAged, Depression, Employment, Female, Follow-Up Studies, Humans, Interpersonal Relations, Male, Middle Aged, Retirement, Risk Factors, Social Class, Time Factors, United Kingdom

OBJECTIVE: We examined whether socioeconomic and psychosocial adversity in midlife predicts post-retirement depressive symptoms.

DESIGN AND SETTING: A prospective cohort study of British civil servants who responded to a self-administered questionnaire in middle-age and at older ages, 21 years later.

PARTICIPANTS: The study sample consisted of 3,939 Whitehall II Study participants (2,789 men, 1,150 women; mean age 67.6 years at follow-up) who were employed at baseline and retired at follow-up.

MEASUREMENTS: Midlife adversity was assessed by self-reported socioeconomic adversity (low occupational position; poor standard of living) and psychosocial adversity (high job strain; few close relationships). Symptoms of depression post-retirement were measured by the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression scale.

RESULTS: After adjustment for sociodemographic and health-related covariates at baseline and follow-up, there were strong associations between midlife adversities and post-retirement depressive symptoms: low occupational position (odds ratio [OR]: 1.70, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.15-2.51), poor standard of living (OR: 2.37, 95% CI: 1.66-3.39), high job strain (OR: 1.52, 95% CI: 1.09-2.14), and few close relationships (OR: 1.51, 95% CI: 1.12-2.03). The strength of the associations between socioeconomic, psychosocial, work-related, or non-work related exposures and depressive symptoms was similar.

CONCLUSIONS: Robust associations from observational data suggest that several socioeconomic and psychosocial risk factors for symptoms of depression post-retirement can be detected already in midlife.

Alternate JournalAm J Geriatr Psychiatry
PubMed ID24816123
PubMed Central IDPMC4270962
Grant ListRG/13/2/30098 / / British Heart Foundation / United Kingdom
R01 HL036310 / HL / NHLBI NIH HHS / United States
K013351 / / Medical Research Council / United Kingdom
R01 AG034454 / AG / NIA NIH HHS / United States
MR/K026992/1 / / Medical Research Council / United Kingdom
MR/K013351/1 / / Medical Research Council / United Kingdom
R01 AG013196 / AG / NIA NIH HHS / United States
/ / Wellcome Trust / United Kingdom
R01AG034454 / AG / NIA NIH HHS / United States
R01HL036310 / HL / NHLBI NIH HHS / United States
R01AG013196 / AG / NIA NIH HHS / United States