Gwenith Fisher of the University of Michigan Institute for Social Research and assistant professor of psychology at Colorado State University, and colleagues at the University of Michigan analyzed brain function before and after retirement. The also analyzed an occupation's characteristics using the website O*NET.
The study, published in the Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, used data from 4,182 subjects, 50 percent women, from the Health and Retirement Study, a U.S. representative panel study during 1992 to 2010.
The study found after factoring for education, income, health and other demographic variables, working in an occupation characterized by higher levels of mental demands was associated with higher levels of brain function before retirement -- and a slower rate of brain decline after retirement.
[Journal of Occupational Health Psychology]