Perceptions of Health Limitations, Employment, and Career Characteristics among Older Adults in the United States
Katsuya Oi, Pennsylvania State University
The present study puts forth a new framework to better understand health and work among older adults in the United States. My approach to this long-debated topic is to introduce a health variable more proximal to work: individual perceptions of whether or not they felt limited at work due to their health issues. Perceived work limitations are dependent on, among many things, levels of physical and cognitive demands at work. Multi-variate linear latent growth curves are fitted to longitudinal data from the Health and Retirement Survey (HRS). In doing so, the present study quantifies the following three overlapping trajectories among older workers aged between 50 and 64: individual perceptions of health-related work limitations, employment, and various aspects of health. Results show that individual trajectories of work status closely follow changes in one’s perceptions of work-related health limitations, and also that physical/cognitive demands from a long-term career further differentiate work/health trajectories.