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Epidemiology and Health 2022;e2022030.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.4178/epih.e2022030    [Accepted] Published online Feb 21, 2022.
Cohort profile: Singapore’s Nationally Representative Retirement and Health Study with 5 waves over 10 years
Reuben Ng1,2  , Yi Wen Tan2  , Kelvin Bryan Tan3 
1Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore,Singapore, Singapore
2LRF Institute for the Public Understanding of Risk, National University of Singapore, Singapore, Singapore
3Ministry of Health, Singapore, Singapore, Singapore
Correspondence  Reuben Ng ,Email: reuben_ng@hotmail.com
Received: Jan 6, 2022  Accepted after revision: Feb 21, 2022
The Retirement and Health Study (RHS) is Singapore’s largest nationally representative cohort with over 15,000 participants (aged 45-85years) followed across five timepoints in 10 years (2014 - 2024). Accounting for sample weights, the sample represents 1.2 million Singaporeans and permanent residents of a total population of 5.5 million. The RHS sought consent to link survey responses to relevant administrative data, enabling the cross-validation of self-reports with national databases. There are 10 sections in the RHS with over 400 questions, 50% of which are on respondents’ physical and mental health, healthcare utilization and insurance; the remaining 50% are about employment history, retirement adequacy, wealth, and household expenditure. The RHS was set up to provide microdata to compliment administrative data for whole-of-government policy making given that Singapore will reach super-aged status by 2026. Sample findings include a need for older adults to balance between immediate financial needs and investments regarding their pension funds. Also, 86% of older adults preferred to transit into partial retirement by reducing workloads. On the health front, existing studies utilising the RHS have revealed latent classes of disabilities, and that intentions to seek employment can mitigate disability developments. Another study reported that physical disability and social isolation was projected to increase, with ethnic disparities in social functioning. Overall, the RHS will be used for evidenced-informed policy agenda setting and evaluation across domains of health, finance, retirement adequacy, social and family development.
Keywords: Older adults; Retirement ; Longitudinal; Gerontology; Psychosocial epidemiology
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