The aim of this study was to investigate the relationship between retirement preparation and depressive symptoms among Koreans 50 years of age or older. We used data from the 2009 to 2013 Korean Retirement and Income Panel Study (KReIS), which included data from the 365 baseline participants of 50 years of age or older. Our sample included only newly retired participants who worked in 2009, but had retired in the 2011 and 2013. To monitor the change in depressive symptoms according to retirement preparation, we used repeated measurement data. We measured depressive symptoms using the Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression (CES-D) 20-item scale. In addition, we measured retirement preparation using a single self-report question asking whether the participant was financially ready for retirement. We evaluated relationship between retirement preparation and depressive symptoms after multivariable adjustment. Compared to subjects who had prepared for retirement (reference group), participants who had not prepared for retirement had increased depression scores (β = 2.49, P < 0.001). In addition, individuals who had not prepared for retirement and who had low household income had the highest increase in depression scores (β = 4.43, P < 0.001). Individuals, who had not prepared for retirement and without a national pension showed a considerable increase in depression scores (β = 3.02, P < 0.001). It is suggested that guaranteed retirement preparation is especially important for mental health of retired elderly individuals with low economic strata.
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