Older workers whose reasoning abilities no longer permit them to meet the demands of their jobs are more likely to develop chronic health conditions and retire early, according to new research by the American Psychological Association.

In the study, published in the Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, the authors used a subset of data from the longitudinal study, Cognition and Aging in the U.S.A., which was collected from nearly 400 participants with an average age of 61 between 2007 and 2014. 

Read: What are the top chronic diseases in the workplace?

It found a poor fit between reasoning abilities and job demands could cause older workers to experience stress and strain, subsequently pushing them out of the workforce. Since reasoning abilities decline with age, organizations need to be aware of how employee health can be negatively impacted by demands placed upon an employee, said Margaret Beier, an associate professor in the department of psychological sciences at Rice University and lead author of the study, in a press release.

As well, she said the study’s results could inform decisions on how jobs for older employees are designed to reduce the potential for negative health outcomes and keep these employees in the workplace for as long as possible.

“When their reasoning abilities matched the demands of their job, older adults experienced fewer health issues and worked longer than adults who did not have the necessary reasoning abilities to perform their job,” said Beier. “Experienced workers offer much in terms of knowing the company culture and being able to mentor younger employees, so it is vital that we look into the best ways to extend their careers and improve their health outcomes.”

Read: Older employees to make up larger portion of Canadian workforce

Copyright © 2020 Transcontinental Media G.P. Originally published on benefitscanada.com

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