Prevalence and incidence of memory complaints in workers compared to non-workers aged 55-64 years and the role of job characteristics

Kelly Rijs, EMGO and VU University Medical Centre
Hannie Comijs, VU University Medical Center
Tessa Van den Kommer, VU University Medical Center
Dorly J.H. Deeg, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Among older workers, memory complaints (MC) may be noticed sooner than in unemployed age peers because of their responsibilities in work. The goal of our study is to examine (1) the prevalence and incidence of MC in Dutch older workers (55-64 years), (2) whether employed respondents are more likely to have MC (cross-sectional) or to develop MC after three years (longitudinal) compared to unemployed age peers and (3) whether job characteristics are associated with having or developing MC. Subjects were participants of the Longitudinal Aging Study Amsterdam (LASA), between age 55-64, who were employed (paid job of ≥ 8 hours per week; n=626) or unemployed (no job or paid job of <8 hours per week; n=1311) at baseline. Job characteristics studied were hours of work per week, job prestige, job class and job demands. Logistic regression analysis was applied. The confounding influence of age, sex, education, MMSE, depressive symptoms (CES-D), mastery, self-efficacy, neuroticism, number of chronic diseases and cardiovascular diseases was examined. At baseline 20.7% reported MC. At three year follow-up, 14.3% of those who reported no MC at baseline had developed MC. No cross-sectional or longitudinal association was found between employment status and MC. Adjusted analysis revealed that individuals who performed a job with a high compared to low job class or high compared to low mental job demands at baseline are more likely to have MC at baseline. Job characteristics did not show to predict MC at follow-up. Individuals with occupations with a high job class and high mental job demands were more likely to have memory complaints, which might suggest that higher stress and multitasking levels cause memory problems. Job class and job demands may be useful to determine who is at risk for memory complaints and therefore may benefit from a cognitive intervention.

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Presented in Session 89: Productivity and retirement