Domains and determinants of retirement timing: A systematic review of longitudinal studies

Micky Scharn, Ranu Sewdas, Cécile R.L. Boot*, Martijn Huisman, Maarten Lindeboom, Allard J. Van Der Beek

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalReview articleAcademicpeer-review


Background: To date, determinants of retirement timing have been studied separately within various disciplines, such as occupational health and economics. This narrative literature review explores the determinants of retirement timing in countries, and relevant domains among older workers from both an economic and occupational health perspective. Methods: A literature search was conducted using 11 databases. Longitudinal studies on determinants of retirement timing were included. Study inclusion criteria were as follows: full-text article written in English or Dutch, conducted in humans, main outcome was time until retirement (i.e. retirement date or retirement age), and longitudinal design. Next, the included articles were screened for hypotheses on retirement timing and these articles with hypotheses were subjected to a quality assessment. Determinants for retirement timing were classified into multiple domains by three researchers. Results: The literature search identified 20 articles. The determinants of retirement timing were classified into eight domains: demographic factors, health factors, social factors, social participation, work characteristics, financial factors, retirement preferences, and macro effects. In total, we identified 49 determinants, ranging from one (social, and retirement preferences) to 21 determinants (work characteristics) per domain. Conclusions: The findings suggest that there is a wide range of determinants that influence retirement timing in modern industrialized countries and that these determinants differ between countries. We recommend that researchers include determinants from various domains when studying retirement timing, while taking into account a country's context.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1083
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
JournalBMC Public Health
Publication statusPublished - 31 Aug 2018


  • Cohort studies
  • Economics
  • Occupational health
  • Older workers
  • Pension


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