Resilience and Longevity in Humans

Here is a recent study of psychological resilience in centenarians: "Resilience, a psychological construct, has been defined differently in extant literatures. In this paper, we adopt the simplified and straightforward definition [that] resilience connotes the ability to adapt positively to adversity. Previous studies have demonstrated that resilience is generally positively correlated with cognitive function, physical health and self-reported health among the elderly, as well as with self-rated successful aging in developed countries. ... We aim to investigate whether centenarians are significantly more resilient than younger elders and whether resilience significantly contributes to exceptional longevity. ... We use a unique dataset from the Chinese Longitudinal Healthy Longevity Survey with the largest sample to date of centenarians, nonagenarians, octogenarians, and a compatible group of young old aged 65-79. ... Logistic regressions based on the cross-sectional sample show that after controlling for various confounders, including physical health and cognitive status, centenarians are significantly more resilient than any other old-age group. Logistic regression analyses based on the longitudinal data show that nonagenarians aged 94-98 with better resilience have a 43.1% higher likelihood of becoming a centenarian compared to nonagenarians with lower resilience. ... Resilience significantly contributes to longevity at all ages, and it becomes even more profound at very advanced ages. These findings indicate that policies and programs to promote resilience would have long-term and positive effects on the well-being and longevity for senior citizens and their families." There is of course a question of causation here: if you are more healthy throughout life, which people who become centenarians generally are, won't that make you better able to deal with the various other slings and arrows that come your way?



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