Retirement and drug abuse: The conditioning role of age and retirement trajectory

Samuel Bacharach, Peter A. Bamberger, William J. Sonnenstuhl, Dana R. Vashdi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Although recent research on the link between retirement and drinking behavior among older adults suggests that retirement may also serve as a risk factor for drug abuse, the latter association has yet to be subject to rigorous research. We examined this association, as well as the possible conditioning effects of age and retirement trajectory, using a sample of 978 retirement-eligible workers (some having retired, others deferring their retirement) from 3 blue-collar employment sectors: (e.g., construction, manufacturing, and transportation). The findings indicate a weak but significant positive association between retirement and the severity of drug abuse. Age moderated the retirement-drug abuse relationship with - among older workers - higher rates of drug abuse found among those deferring retirement and lower rates among those actually retiring, and the exact opposite pattern found among younger retirement-eligible workers. Also, as hypothesized, the moderating effects of age on the association between retirement and drug abuse were weaker among those opting to return to work post-retirement as opposed to those fully retiring.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1610-1614
Number of pages5
JournalAddictive Behaviors
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2008


  • Blue collar
  • Drug abuse
  • Retirement
  • Retirement trajectories

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Toxicology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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