Abstract: Background: In Australia, it is projected that one in four individuals will be at the nominal retirement age of 65 or over by 2056; this effect is expected to be especially pronounced in rural areas. Previous findings on the effects of retirement on wellbeing have been mixed. The present study explores the effects of employment and retirement on health and wellbeing among a sample of rural Australians. Methods: Australian Rural Mental Health Study participants who were aged 45 or over (N = 2013) were included in a series of analyses to compare the health and wellbeing of individuals with differing employment and retirement circumstances. Self-reported outcome variables included perceived physical health and everyday functioning, financial wellbeing, mental health, relationships, and satisfaction with life. Results: Across the outcomes, participants who were employed or retired generally reported better health and wellbeing than those not in the workforce. Retired participants rated more highly than employed participants on mental health, relationships, and satisfaction with life. There was also a short-term benefit for perceived financial status for retired participants compared to employed participants, but this effect diminished over time. Conclusions: While retirement is a significant life transition that may affect multiple facets of an individual’s life, the direction and magnitude of these effects vary depending on the retirement context, namely the pre-retirement and concurrent circumstances within which an individual is retiring. Personal perceptions of status changes may also contribute to an individual’s wellbeing more so than objective factors such as income. Policies that promote rural work/retirement opportunities and diversity and address rural disadvantage are needed.
Handley, Tonelle E., Lewin, Terry J., Butterworth, Peter, Kelly, Brian J., 2021, Employment and retirement impacts on health and wellbeing among a sample of rural Australians, Volume:21, Journal Article, viewed 11 December 2023, https://www.nintione.com.au/?p=24809.