The impact of gender on early ill-health retirement in people with heart disease and depression

Matt B. Paradise, Sharon L. Naismith, Tracey A. Davenport, Ian B. Hickie, Nick S. Glozier*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: Depression and heart disease are major causes of early ill-health retirement. The effect of comorbid depression on the award of ill-health retirement in those with heart disease is unclear, however, and may differ by gender. Given the deleterious effects of ill-health retirement, identifying at-risk groups is important for guiding targeted interventions.Method: We retrospectively analysed baseline data of 20,655 participants from the 45 and Up Study (New South Wales, Australia), who had fully retired between the ages of 45 and 64. We examined the associations of depression and heart disease with ill-health retirement and then adjusted for the presence of common confounders. We then restricted the sample to the 1165 individuals with heart disease prior to retirement, to determine the impact of comorbid depression on IHR and analysed whether there was a differential impact by gender.Results: In the complete sample, 3836 out of 20,655 (18.6%) of the participants retired early due to ill health. Prior heart disease and depression were both independently and strongly associated with ill-health retirement. Those who retired due to ill health were also more likely to be men, less educated, report greater physical disability and were younger at retirement. Among the 1165 for whom heart disease predated any form of retirement, 40% retired due to ill health. Comorbid depression prior to ill-health retirement was strongly associated with an increased risk of this IHR in women (odds ratio = 2.85; 95% confidence interval = 1.20-6.77, p = 0.01), but not in men (interaction term, p = 0.045).Conclusions: Ill-health retirement is common in those with heart disease. Women appear to be particularly susceptible to the effects of comorbid depression. Given the policy emphasis on reducing the number of people leaving the workforce early, women with early heart disease may represent a particular group in whom interventions designed to detect and treat comorbid depression should be targeted.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)249-256
Number of pages8
JournalAustralian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Depression
  • gender
  • heart disease
  • retirement


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