Background/objectives: Resilience, the ability to resist or recover from adverse effects of a stressor, is of widespread interest in social, psychologic, biologic, and medical research and particularly salient as the capacity to respond to stressors becomes diminished with aging. To date, research on human resilience responses to and factors influencing these responses has been limited.

Methods: The National Institute on Aging convened a workshop in August 2015 on needs for research to improve measures to predict and assess resilience in human aging. Effects of aging-related factors in impairing homeostatic responses were developed from examples illustrating multiple determinants of clinical resilience outcomes. Research directions were identified by workshop participants.

Results: Research needs identified included expanded uses of clinical data and specimens in predicting or assessing resilience, and contributions from epidemiological studies in identifying long-term predictors. Better measures, including simulation tests, are needed to assess resilience and its determinants. Mechanistic studies should include exploration of influences of biologic aging processes on human resiliencies. Important resource and infrastructure needs include consensus phenotype definitions of specific resiliencies, capacity to link epidemiological and clinical resilience data, sensor technology to capture responses to stressors, better laboratory animal models of human resiliencies, and new analytic methods to understand the effects of multiple determinants of stress responses.

Conclusions: Extending the focus of care and research to improving the capacity to respond to stressors could benefit older adults in promoting a healthier life span.

Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The Gerontological Society of America 2017. This work is written by (a) US Government employee(s) and is in the public domain in the US.

Author(s): Hadley EC, Kuchel GA, Newman AB
Publication Date: 2018 Jun 14

Link (Pubmed): https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28475732/

DOI (full text): https://doi.org/10.1093/gerona/glx015

Research Topic: Resiliency