Longevity as a result of resilience

Marcela Petrova Kafkova, Masaryk University
Martin Lakomý, Masaryk University

Various explanations for longevity and mortality differences have been repeatedly tested and discussed in the context of worldwide population aging. We contribute to this field of research by testing the potential of resilience as a capacity to adapt in the face of adversity through individual and social resources. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study in the European context investigating how resilience predicts survival in later life. We use SHARE data from 13 European countries to determine the predictors of survival among people over the age of 80 between waves 4 and 5. The results of the logistic regression show that resilience is a strong predictor of survival among the oldest old, and this is true even if the amount and severity of adversity is controlled in the analysis. Further, resilience by itself is a much stronger predictor of survival in women, while the amount and severity of adversity is more important in men. We argue that resilience is an important factor in longevity and survival in later life. The stronger effect of resilience in women can partly explain the so-called gender paradox. The paper concludes that resilience is protective against decease, especially through the use of social resources, which are stronger among women and not measured in most traditionally used resilience scales.

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Presented in Poster Session 3