Number of illnesses, self-perceived health, and depressive symptoms: The moderating role of employment in older adulthood and old age

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: This article explores the mediating role of self-perceived health in the relationship between objective health status (defined as the number of illnesses) and depressive symptoms. It also examines the moderating role of employment versus retirement in the relationship between health status and self-perceived health and between selfperceived health and depressive symptoms. Method: The moderated mediation model was tested using the Israeli SHARE database of employed and retired older adults (N = 1,574). Regressions and bootstrapping analyses were used to test the moderated mediation model. Results: The relationship between the number of illnesses and depressive symptoms was mediated by self-perceived health and was moderated by employment. Employment moderated the relationship between the number of illnesses and self-perceived health, such that the relationship was stronger for employees. Employment also moderated the relationship between self-perceived health and depressive symptoms, such that the relationship was weaker for employees. Conclusion: The article portrays interesting patterns, adding to the ongoing debate regarding the relationship between older adults' employment and health. While employment strengthens the association between objective health and self-perceived health, it weakens the association between self-perceived health and depression.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)382-392
Number of pages11
JournalWork, Aging and Retirement
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2015
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This article uses data from SHARE wave 2 release 2.5.0, as of May 24, 2011. The SHARE data collection has been primarily funded by the European Commission through the 5th Framework Programme (project QLK6-CT-2001-00360 in the thematic programme Quality of Life), the 6th Framework Programme (projects SHARE-I3, RII-CT-2006-062193, COMPARE, CIT5-CT-2005-028857and SHARELIFE, CIT4-CT-2006-028812), and the 7th Framework Programme (SHARE-PREP, N° 211909, SHARE-LEAP, N° 227822 and SHARE M4, N° 261982). Additional funding from the U.S. National Institute on Aging (U01 AG09740-13S2, P01 AG005842, P01 AG08291, P30 AG12815, R21 AG025169, Y1-AG-4553-01, IAG BSR06-11, and OGHA 04-064) and the German Ministry of Education and Research as well as from various national sources is gratefully acknowledged (see for a full list of funding institutions). In Israel, the project and data collection were supported by the U.S. National Institute of Aging (R03AG029258, R01AG031729, and R21AG025169), c, The German-Israeli Foundation for Scientific Research and Development (GIF), Ministry of Science, Ministry of Senior Citizens. Data were collected by the Israel Gerontological Data Center. I would like to thank Professor Peter Bamberger for his guidance through the process of preparing this manuscript

Publisher Copyright:
© The Authors 2015.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Industrial relations
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance (miscellaneous)
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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