Extended working life and its interaction with health, wellbeing and quality of life: a multi-country initiative (THRIVE)

Reasons for the study

Life expectancy is increasing in Europe and Canada. Yet increases in life expectancy are not experienced equally. Less skilled workers, for example, have a shorter life expectancy, an earlier onset of chronic illness and disability, and a greater likelihood of suffering multi-morbidities as they get older. Therefore, policy-makers in Europe and Canada face the dual challenge of extending health, quality of life and wellbeing into old age for all groups, while finding more effective and equitable ways of ensuring that all older people are treated fairly in strategies and policies intended to extend working life. This project looks at how four countries – Canada, Denmark, Sweden and United Kingdom – are addressing similar policy problems regarding the ways in which health inequalities affect the opportunity to work later in life. It will improve our understanding of extended-working-life strategies and policies that take health inequalities into consideration.

Objectives of the study

  • To examine how the pattern of different physical and mental health conditions vary over the working life by socioeconomic status and gender in different countries
  • To determine the employment consequences of these changing patterns of morbidity and co-morbidity
  • To find policy approaches in the study countries that extend the working lives of people with chronic illness

Anticipated results/impact

Policy-makers internationally may learn from this study about ways to extend the working lives of older people effectively and equitably.

Project status

Ongoing

Research team

Cameron Mustard, Institute for Work & Health (PI)
Emile Tompa, Institute for Work & Health

Participating organizations

University of Liverpool (UK)
University of Copenhagen (Denmark)
Karolinska Institute (Sweden)

Funded by

Canadian Institutes of Health Research