Institute of Epidemiology & Health Care


Retirement: good for your mental health?

10 February 2020

Our WorkLife blog looks at research from Maria Fleischmann and colleagues showing, where workers have good working conditions early in their careers, they are likely to reap the rewards later on in respect of good mental health.

Older man -photo

Retirement has traditionally been seen as a stressful time, with disruption to routines bringing potential health hazards. Recently this assumption has been challenged maybe retirement could actually be a relief to many people. But the evidence so far has been mixed.

A study by Maria Fleischmann and colleagues from the renEWL project at UCL looking at Extending Working Lives, suggests there are mental health benefits to retirement with the biggest gains for those retiring from stressful, unrewarding jobs. 

The research findings confirm that workers in good jobs have better mental health. Even though those in less good jobs benefit more from retirement with respect to mental health, this does not close the gap between the two groups.

The researchers believe that employers and policymakers can reduce health care costs through changes in the workplace and that doing so will ensure that workers have good working conditions early in their careers, and so enjoy better mental health in retirement.