Photograph of Loretta Platts

Loretta Platts


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Works at Department of Psychology
Telephone 08-553 789 02
Visiting address Frescati Hagväg 16 A
Postal address Psykologiska institutionen 106 91 Stockholm

About me

Loretta G. Platts is a researcher in public health and gerontology working at the Stress Research Institute. She investigates inequalities in health and well-being in mid-life and old age, employing cross-national and life course perspectives. Her current research focusses on people’s participation in paid work after retirement and on the implications of retirement patterns for health and wellbeing in later life. Loretta is funded as principal investigator by grants from Forte, Riksbankens Jubileumsfond and the Kamprad Family Foundation. She has substantial experience of working with large, longitudinal surveys as well as administrative data and is developing a programme of qualitative research.


Loretta received her PhD from Imperial College London, her MA from Sciences Po Paris and her BA from the University of Oxford.


It is common for retired people to have a job, particularly if they are healthy, well-educated and wealthy. Since many governments are encouraging greater participation of older people in paid work, patterns of labour market participation in later life may become more important for social and health inequalities in old age. These issues lie at the heart of Loretta's current research, which explores the implications of retirement and post-retirement work for individual health as well as for social and health inequalities.

Externally funded projects and collaborations

Riksbankens Jubileumsfond has funded Loretta to lead an international project examining the impact of post-retirement paid work on inequalities in later life in Japan, Sweden and the USA. By comparing these contrasting national settings, the research team aims to shed light on the mechanisms through which post-retirement work might be generating social inequalities. Loretta Platts is collaborating with Kevin E. Cahill at Boston College, Ayako Hiyoshi at Örebro University Hospital and the Department of Public Health Sciences at Stockholm University, Stefanie König at the University of Gothenburg and Hugo Westerlund at the Stress Research Institute.

Loretta's research funded by the Kamprad Family Foundation examines how people's quality of life is affected by paid work and retirement as well as by their health and social relationships. This project uses two panel studies: The Swedish Longitudinal Occupational Survey of Health (SLOSH) and HEalth, Aging and Retirement Transitions in Sweden – Hearts Study. It is a collaboration with Martin Hyde at the Centre for Innovative Ageing at Swansea University, Stefanie König at the University of Gothenburg, Pensionärernas riksorganisation and Lawrence Sacco and Hugo Westerlund at the Stress Research Institute.

Loretta leads a Forte-funded project to explore from quantitative and qualitative perspectives the nature of post-retirement work in Sweden, barriers to accessing post-retirement work, and what the implications of post-retirement work might be for gender, health and social inequalities in later life. This is a collaboration with Bo Burström and Staffan Marklund at Karolinska Institutet, Agnieszka Ignatowicz at the University of Birmingham, Dara Rasoal at Mälardalen University, and Paraskevi Peristera and Hugo Westerlund at the Stress Research Institute.



A selection from Stockholm University publication database
  • 2021. Anna Andreasson (et al.). American Journal of Gastroenterology 116 (1), 210-213

    INTRODUCTION: We hypothesized that the prevalence of functional dyspepsia and gastroesophageal reflux disease in the community may be increasing.

    METHODS: Randomly selected adults were surveyed on 4 occasions: 1988 (n = 1,151, 21–79 years, response rate [rr] = 90%), 1989 (n = 1,097, 22–80 years, rr = 87%), 1995 (n = 1,139, 20–85 years, rr = 76%), and 2011 (n = 1,175, 20–93 years, rr = 63%).

    RESULTS: In functional dyspepsia, the odds of postprandial distress syndrome tripled over 23 years' follow-up (odds ratio [OR]: 3.55; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 2.60–4.84, mixed-effect regression analysis), whereas a small decrease in epigastric pain syndrome was observed (OR: 0.65, 95% CI: 0.42–1.00). The odds of reporting gastroesophageal reflux disease doubled (OR: 2.02; 95% CI: 1.50–2.73).

    DISCUSSION: The underlying mechanisms behind the increase in postprandial distress syndrome and gastroesophageal reflux disease remain to be determined.

  • 2020. Lawrence B. Sacco (et al.). Social Indicators Research

    Providing unpaid informal care to someone who is ill or disabled is a common experience in later life. While a supportive and potentially rewarding role, informal care can become a time and emotionally demanding activity, which may hinder older adults’ quality of life. In a context of rising demand for informal carers, we investigated how caregiving states and transitions are linked to overall levels and changes in quality of life, and how the relationship varies according to care intensity and burden. We used fixed effects and change analyses to examine six-wave panel data (2008–2018) from the Swedish Longitudinal Occupational Survey of Health (SLOSH, n = 5076; ages 50–74). The CASP-19 scale is used to assess both positive and negative aspects of older adults’ quality of life. Caregiving was related with lower levels of quality of life in a graded manner, with those providing more weekly hours and reporting greater burden experiencing larger declines. Two-year transitions corresponding to starting, ceasing and continuing care provision were associated with lower levels of quality of life, compared to continuously not caregiving. Starting and ceasing caregiving were associated with negative and positive changes in quality of life score, respectively, suggesting that cessation of care leads to improvements despite persistent lower overall levels of quality of life. Measures to reduce care burden or time spent providing informal care are likely to improve the quality of life of older people.

  • 2020. Johanna Garefelt (et al.). Journal of Sleep Research

    Several strands of research indicate that work competes for time with sleep, but to what extent the timing and duration of sleep is affected by work is not known. Retirement offers a quasi-experimental life transition to study this in a within-individual study design. The few existing studies report that people sleep longer and later after retirement but mainly rely on self-reported data or between-individual analyses. We recruited 100 participants aged 61-72 years who were in paid work but would soon retire and measured them in a baseline week with accelerometers, diaries and questionnaires. After 1 and 2 years, the measurements were repeated for the now retired participants. Changes in sleep duration, timing, efficiency, chronotype and social jetlag were analysed using multilevel modelling. Gender, chronotype at baseline and partner's working status were analysed as potential effect modifiers. Sleep duration increased by 21 min, whereas sleep efficiency remained similar. Time of sleep onset and final awakening were postponed by 26 and 52 min, respectively, pushing midsleep forward from 03:17 to 03:37 hours. Changes in duration and timing of sleep were driven by weekday sleep, whereas weekend sleep stayed about the same. Social jetlag decreased but still occurred after retirement. Changes at retirement in sleep duration and timing were smaller for participants with a later chronotype and who had full-time working partners. These findings indicate that paid work generates sleep loss and hinders people from sleeping in line with their biological time.

  • 2020. Loretta G. Platts (et al.). PLoS ONE 15 (4)

    Objectives Previous research suggesting that open-plan office environments are associated with higher rates of sickness absence rely on self-reports which can be affected by recall bias. This paper investigates the associations of sickness absence, obtained from employer records as well as self-reports, with office type (cell offices and different sizes of open-plan offices). It additionally studies whether office type is associated with sickness presence. Methods Employees from two private and one public sector organization were recruited to the study. Office type was ascertained by direct observation or from employee responses to an online survey. Control variables were gender, age, public/private sector and education level. Number of days and episodes of sickness absence were calculated from employer absence records and regressed on office type using negative binomial regression (n = 988). Self-reports of sickness absence and presence were regressed on office type using ordered logistic regression (n = 1237). Results Office type was generally not associated with employer records of number of episodes or days of sickness absence, except that the total number of days of leave was higher in flex offices compared to cell offices (IRR = 2.46, p = 0.007). In general, office type was not associated with self-reported days of sickness absence, apart from participants working in medium-sized open-plan offices who had 0.42 higher log-odds of absence than those working in cell offices (p = 0.004). Office type was not associated with self-reported sickness presence. Conclusions Office type was not associated with sickness presence nor, in general, with sickness absence, whether obtained from self-reports or company records. It is not possible to conclude from this study that open-plan offices are associated with greater sickness absence or sickness presence compared to cell offices.

  • 2020. Johanna Garefelt (et al.). Journal of Sleep Research 29 (2)

    Work stress and poor sleep are closely related in cross-sectional data, but evidence from prospective data is limited. We analysed how perceived stress and work stressors (work demands, decision authority and workplace social support) are related to key dimensions of insomnia over time, using structural equation modelling. Biennial measurements from a large sample of the working population in Sweden enabled us to analyse both the relationship from stress to sleep as well as that from sleep to stress. Overall, we found reciprocal relations between insomnia and all four stress measures. However, looking at the relation between each dimension of insomnia and each stress measure, there were some differences in direction of effects. In the direction from stress to sleep, all work stressors as well as perceived stress predicted both difficulties initiating sleep and difficulties maintaining sleep. The same was found for non-restorative sleep, with the exception for decision authority. In the opposite direction, difficulties maintaining sleep predicted increased levels of work demands and perceived stress. Difficulties initiating sleep stood out among the insomnia symptoms as not predicting any of the stress measures, while non-restorative sleep was the only symptom predicting all stress measures. The results advance the understanding of the stress-sleep relationship and indicate a potential vicious circle between insomnia and perceived stress as well as work stressors, suggesting that the workplace could be an arena for interventions to alleviate insomnia.

  • 2019. Vera van de Straat (et al.). Ageing & Society

    Although retirement involves a radical change in daily activities, income, social roles and relationships, and the transition from paid work into retirement can, therefore, be expected to affect sleep, little is known about the effects of old-age retirement on changes in sleep disturbances, and how the impact of retirement may vary by gender, age and prior working conditions. This study modelled reported sleep disturbances up to nine years before to nine years following retirement in a sample of 2,110 participants from the Swedish Longitudinal Occupational Survey of Health (SLOSH). Sleep disturbances over the retirement transition were modelled using repeated-measures regression analysis with Generalized Estimating Equations (GEE) in relation to gender, age at retirement, working patterns (night work, full-time/part-time work), control over work hours, and psychological and physical working conditions. The analyses controlled for civil status, education level, income obtained from registers and self-rated health. Retiring from paid work was associated with decreased sleep disturbances. Greater reductions in sleep disturbances were reported by women, as well as by participants who retired before age 65 years, who were working full-time, who lacked control over their work hours and who had high psychological demands. These results, suggesting that old-age retirement from paid work is associated with reductions in disturbed sleep, pose a challenge for governments seeking to increase retirement ages.

  • 2018. Paraskevi Peristera (et al.). Aging & Mental Health

    Objectives: The life event of retirement may be associated with changes in levels of depressive symptoms. The use of polynomial group-based trajectory modelling allows any changes to vary between different groups in a sample. A new approach, estimating these models using B-splines rather than polynomials, may improve modelling of complex changes in depressive symptoms at retirement.

    Methods: The sample contained 1497 participants from the Swedish Longitudinal Occupational Survey of Health (SLOSH). Polynomial and B-spline approaches to estimating group-based trajectory models were compared.

    Results: Polynomial group-based trajectory models produced unexpected changes in direction of trajectories unsupported by the data. In contrast, B-splines provided improved insights into trajectory shapes and more homogeneous groups. While retirement was associated with reductions in depressive symptoms in the sample as a whole, the nature of changes at retirement varied between groups.

    Conclusions: Depressive symptoms trajectories around old age retirement changed in complex ways that were modelled more accurately by the use of B-splines. We recommend estimation of group-based trajectory models with B-splines, particularly where abrupt changes might occur. Improved trajectory modelling may support research into risk factors and consequences of major depressive disorder, ultimately assisting with identification of groups which may benefit from treatment.

  • 2018. Linda L. Magnusson Hanson (et al.). Occupational and Environmental Medicine 75 (7), 486-493

    Objectives Poor psychosocial working conditions increase the likelihood of various types of morbidity and may substantially limit quality of life and possibilities to remain in paid work. To date, however, no studies to our knowledge have quantified the extent to which poor psychosocial working conditions reduce healthy or chronic disease-free life expectancy, which was the focus of this study.

    Methods Data were derived from four cohorts with repeat data: the Finnish Public Sector Study (Finland), GAZEL (France), the Swedish Longitudinal Occupational Survey of Health (Sweden) and Whitehall II (UK). Healthy (in good self-rated health) life expectancy (HLE) and chronic disease-free (free from cardiovascular disease, cancer, respiratory disease and diabetes) life expectancy (CDFLE) was calculated from age 50 to 75 based on 64394 individuals with data on job strain (high demands in combination with low control) at baseline and health at baseline and follow-up.

    Results Multistate life table models showed that job strain was consistently related to shorter HLE (overall 1.7 years difference). The difference in HLE was more pronounced among men (2.0 years compared with 1.5 years for women) and participants in lower occupational positions (2.5 years among low-grade men compared with 1.7 years among high-grade men). Similar differences in HLE, although smaller, were observed among those in intermediate or high occupational positions. Job strain was additionally associated with shorter CDFLE, although this association was weaker and somewhat inconsistent.

    Conclusions These findings suggest that individuals with job strain have a shorter health expectancy compared with those without job strain.

  • 2018. Lawrence B. Sacco, Constanze Leineweber, Loretta G. Platts. Sleep 41 (2), 1-10

    Study objectives

    To examine cross-sectionally and prospectively whether informal caregiving is related to sleep disturbance among caregivers in paid work.


    Participants (N=21 604) in paid work from the Swedish Longitudinal Occupational Survey of Health. Sleeping problems were measured with a validated scale of sleep disturbance (Karolinska Sleep Questionnaire). Random-effects modelling was used to examine the cross-sectional association between informal caregiving (self-reports: none, up to 5h per week, over 5h per week) and sleep disturbance. Potential socio-demographic and health confounders were controlled for and interactions between caregiving and gender included. Longitudinal random-effects modelling of the effects of changes in reported informal caregiving upon sleep disturbance and change in sleep disturbance were performed.


    In multivariate analyses controlling for socio-demographics, health factors and work hours, informal caregiving was associated cross-sectionally with sleep disturbance in a dose-response relationship (compared to no caregiving, up to 5h of caregiving: β = .03; 95% CI: .01; .06, over 5h: β = .08; 95% CI: .02; .13), results which varied by gender. Cessation of caregiving was associated with reductions in sleep disturbance (β = -.08; 95% CI: -.13; -.04).


    This study provides evidence for a causal association of provision of informal care upon subjective sleep disturbance. Even low intensity care provision was related to sleep disturbance among this sample of carers in paid work. The results highlight the importance of addressing sleep disturbance in caregivers.

  • 2017. Loretta G. Platts (et al.). Ageing & Society

    Despite the complexity of the retirement process, most research treats it as an abrupt and one-way transition. Our study takes a different approach by examining retirement reversals (unretirement) and their predictors. Using the British Household Panel Survey (1991–2008), and following participants into Understanding Society (2010–2015), we undertake a survival analysis to investigate retirement reversals among Britons aged 50–69 years who were born in 1920–1959 (N = 2,046). Unretirement was defined as: (a) reporting being retired and subsequently recommencing paid employment, or (b) beginning full-time work following partial retirement (the latter defined here as reporting being retired and working fewer than 30 hours per week). A cumulative proportion of around 25 per cent of participants experienced a retirement reversal after reporting being retired; about half of these reversals occurred within the first five years of retirement. Unretirement was more common for participants who were male, more educated, in better health, owned a house with a mortgage (compared to owning it outright) and whose partner was in paid work. However, unretirement rates were not higher for participants in greater financial need, whether measured as subjective assessment of finances or household income quintiles. These results suggest that unretirement is a strategy more often used by those who are already advantaged and that it has the potential to exacerbate income inequalities in later life.

  • 2017. Loretta G. Platts (et al.). Occupational and Environmental Medicine 74 (3), 176-183

    Objectives: To examine the relationships of strenuous and hazardous working conditions and rotating shifts that involve night working with life expectancy in good perceived health and life expectancy without chronic disease.

    Methods: The sample contained male gas and electricity workers from the French GAZEL cohort (n=13 393). Six measures of physical working conditions were examined: Self-reports from 1989 and 1990 of ergonomic strain, physical danger, rotating shifts that involve night working and perceived physical strain; company records of workplace injuries and a job-exposure matrix of chemical exposures. Partial healthy life expectancies (age 50-75) relating to (1) self-rated health and (2) chronic health conditions, obtained from annual questionnaires (1989-2014) and company records, were estimated using multistate life tables. The analyses were adjusted for social class and occupational grade.

    Results: Participants with physically strenuous jobs and who had experienced industrial injuries had shorter partial life expectancy. More physically demanding and dangerous work was associated with fewer years of life spent in good self-rated health and without chronic conditions, with the exception of shift work including nights, where the gradient was reversed.

    Conclusions: Strenuous and hazardous work may contribute to lost years of good health in later life, which has implications for individuals' quality of life as well as healthcare use and labour market participation.

  • 2017. Giorgio Di Gessa (et al.). Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health 71 (5), 431-438

    Background Given the current policy emphasis in many Western societies on extending working lives, we investigated the health effects of being in paid work beyond state pension age (SPA). Until now, work has largely focused on the health of those who exit the labour force early. Methods Our data come from waves 2-4 of the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing, including the life history interview at wave 3. Using logistic and linear regression models, we assessed the longitudinal associations between being in paid work beyond SPA and 3 measures of health (depression, a latent measure of somatic health and sleep disturbance) among men aged 65-74 and women aged 60-69. Our analyses controlled for baseline health and socioeconomic characteristics, as well as for work histories and health in adulthood and childhood. Results Approximately a quarter of women and 15% of men were in paid work beyond SPA. Descriptive bivariate analyses suggested that men and women in paid work were more likely to report better health at follow-up. However, once baseline socioeconomic characteristics as well as adulthood and baseline health and labour market histories were accounted for, the health benefits of working beyond SPA were no longer significant. Conclusions Potential health benefits of working beyond SPA need to be considered in the light of the fact that those who report good health and are more socioeconomically advantaged are more likely to be working beyond SPA to begin with.

  • 2017. Loretta G. Platts, Christopher J. Gerry. European Journal of Public Health 27 (2), 211-217

    Background: Despite Ukraine's large population, few studies have examined social inequalities in health. This study describes Ukrainian educational inequalities in self-rated health and assesses how far psychosocial, material and behavioural factors account for the education gradient in health. Methods: Data were analyzed from the 2007 wave of the Ukrainian Longitudinal Monitoring Survey. Education was categorized as: lower secondary or less, upper secondary and tertiary. In logistic regressions of 5451 complete cases, stratified by gender, declaring less than average health was regressed on education, before and after adjusting for psychosocial, material and behavioural factors. Results: In analyses adjusted for socio-demographic characteristics, compared with those educated up to lower secondary level, tertiary education was associated with lower risk of less than average health for both men and women. Including material factors (income quintiles, housing assets, labour market status) reduced the association between education and health by 55-64% in men and 35-47% in women. Inclusion of health behaviours (physical activity, smoking, alcohol consumption and body mass index) reduced the associations by 27-30% in men and 19-27% in women; in most cases including psychosocial factors (marital status, living alone, trust in family and friends) did not reduce the size of the associations. Including all potential explanatory factors reduced the associations by 68-84% in men and 43-60% in women. Conclusions: The education gradient in self-rated health in Ukraine was partly accounted for by material and behavioural factors. In addition to health behaviours, policymakers should consider upstream determinants of health inequalities, such as joblessness and poverty

Show all publications by Loretta Platts at Stockholm University

Last updated: April 7, 2021

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