Published: 23-05-2019 15:43 | Updated: 24-05-2019 13:21

New thesis: Impact of psychosocial working conditions on health in older age

Hi Kuan-Yu Pan, PhD-student at the Division of Aging Research Center. On 5 June you will defend your thesis ”Impact of psychosocial working conditions on health in older age”, what's the main focus of the thesis?

Work takes up a great deal of time in one’s adult life, which possibly makes it an important determinant of health. My thesis focuses on the impact of psychosocial working conditions on metabolic and cognitive health, as well as disability in later life.  

Which are the most important results?

By applying the job demand-control model, three main conclusions were drawn in this thesis. First, a stressful work scenario (i.e., high strain) is detrimental to metabolic function among women in their early 60s. Second, not only high strain, but also low strain and passive jobs affect cognitive performance and daily living in older age. Third, duration of work experience throughout the working life seems to play an important role in the associations between psychosocial working conditions and health later in life.

How can this new knowledge contribute to the improvement of people’s health?

As retirement age is gradually increasing, the impact of work on late-life health will most likely become even stronger. This thesis underscores the notion that both stressful and understimulating workplace scenarios are detrimental to health in older age. From the occupational and public health perspectives, this can aid the identification of targets to implement preventive strategies or early interventions.

What´s in the future for you? Will you keep on conducting research?

Yes, I would like to keep doing research in the field of stress, occupational health, and geriatric epidemiology.