Grant awarded to ARC researcher from Marianne and Marcus Wallenberg Foundation

We congratulate Ingemar Kåreholt on receiving 4.1 MSEK from the Marianne and Marcus Wallenberg Foundation.

Project title
Psychosocial working conditions and late-life physical functioning: What role does gender, socioeconomic position, work-life balance, and coping mechanisms play?

Project description
The proportion of people with functional limitations increases with age. Physical functioning is related to quality of life and independence in old age, important for both wellbeing and societal costs for care. Most adults spend a considerable amount of time at work, making working conditions a major player in late-life health outcomes. However, only a few studies to date, including some by our group, have analyzed psychosocial working conditions in relation to late-life health, and even fewer in relation to physical functioning. Prevalence of functional limitations is greater in old women than men. There are also big differences in labor market exposures for women versus men, therefore important to carefully consider sex differences when studying influence of working conditions.

We propose to examine:

* The association between a wide range of psychosocial working conditions, including theory-based measures of work stress and work complexity, before retirement age and physical functioning (tests of strength and range of motion, grip strength, lung function, self-reported mobility, hand function, and activities of daily living) in old age (76+).

* How these associations differ between women and men with different socioeconomic position (e.g. education, income, and social class based on occupation).

* The projected trends in physical functioning related to main study variables for old persons up to the year 2030, as predicted from our results.

Data sources
Swedish nationally representative samples were interviewed in 1968, 1974, 1981, 1991, 2000, and 2010, and re-interviewed in 1992, 2002, and 2011 (age 76+) allowing up to 43 years of follow-up.

The project will give important insights into the long-term consequences of psychosocial working conditions on late-life physical functioning, which will serve an important role in improving well-being and reducing health care costs in older adulthood.