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Mechanisms of the Effect of Involuntary Retirement on Older Adults' Self-Rated Health and Mental Health.


This study examined mechanisms of the effect of involuntary retirement on self-rated health and mental health among adults aged 50 or older. Using two waves of the Health and Retirement Study (2006 and 2010), we selected a sample of 1,195 individuals working for pay at baseline who responded to a lifestyle questionnaire in both waves. Regression-based path analyses were conducted to test the mediating effects of financial control, positive and negative family relationships, and social integration on the relationship between involuntary retirement and self-rated health and mental health. Results of mediation analyses indicated that transition to involuntary retirement was directly negatively associated with subsequent self-rated health and indirectly negatively associated with mental health via perception of less financial control. Voluntary retirement was indirectly positively associated with both self-rated and mental health via perception of more financial control. No significant direct or indirect effects of retirement were found when retirement was measured with an aggregate measure without specifying its voluntariness. Findings emphasize the importance of specifying the voluntariness of retirement and recognizing the heterogeneity in the mechanisms of involuntary and voluntary retirement.