Research Topic

Life-course Psychosocial Adversity, Resilience, and Aging

About this Research Topic

The ultimate goal of aging-related research is to increase healthspan, namely the number of years lived in good health. Measures of health status in older adults include objective indicators, such as biomarkers, cognitive performance, frailty, and prevalence of age-related diseases, as well as subjective indicators, such as self-reported health and well-being.

Exposure to psychosocial adversity during the lifespan (such as prenatal exposure to maternal stress, childhood abuse, and adulthood stressors such as job strain, bereavement, and marital breakdown) increases risk for disease and premature death, and is thought to accelerate age-related decline. However, it has long been observed that there is substantial inter-individual variation in responses to adversity.

Resilience is a multi-level concept that can broadly be defined as the capacity to adapt or cope when faced with adversity. Resilience factors that may explain or mitigate associations between psychosocial adversity and accelerated age-related decline include psychological resources or personality traits, social resources and support, and lifestyle behaviors. The effects of psychosocial adversity on aging-related outcomes are likely the results of a complex interplay between adversity and resilience factors, but this interplay is often not considered in studies of aging. Examining interactions between psychosocial adversity and resilience factors can therefore strengthen understanding of aging.

Adopting a life-course perspective in aging-related research is also important to consider the differential and cumulative effects of adversity experienced at different points in the life-course. Longitudinal studies are needed to track intra-individual changes, and multi-disciplinary studies such as those that combine neuroimaging methods with neuropsychological assessments can provide additional insights.

This Research Topic invites manuscripts that consider the impact of psychosocial adversity on age-related decline (including physiological, cognitive, neural, and functional outcomes), as well as factors that may moderate or mediate observed impacts, such as social and psychological resources, lifestyle behaviors, and genetic factors. We encourage contributions, including Original Articles, Reviews, Meta-analyses, Methods, Protocols, and Perspectives from a range of inter-related disciplines including but not limited to: psychology, epidemiology, public health, social science, endocrinology, genetics, and neuroscience.


Keywords: Aging, adversity, psychosocial factors, cognitive decline, physiological decline, functional decline, biological age, biomarkers, epigenetics, brain, lifecourse trajectories, resilience


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

The ultimate goal of aging-related research is to increase healthspan, namely the number of years lived in good health. Measures of health status in older adults include objective indicators, such as biomarkers, cognitive performance, frailty, and prevalence of age-related diseases, as well as subjective indicators, such as self-reported health and well-being.

Exposure to psychosocial adversity during the lifespan (such as prenatal exposure to maternal stress, childhood abuse, and adulthood stressors such as job strain, bereavement, and marital breakdown) increases risk for disease and premature death, and is thought to accelerate age-related decline. However, it has long been observed that there is substantial inter-individual variation in responses to adversity.

Resilience is a multi-level concept that can broadly be defined as the capacity to adapt or cope when faced with adversity. Resilience factors that may explain or mitigate associations between psychosocial adversity and accelerated age-related decline include psychological resources or personality traits, social resources and support, and lifestyle behaviors. The effects of psychosocial adversity on aging-related outcomes are likely the results of a complex interplay between adversity and resilience factors, but this interplay is often not considered in studies of aging. Examining interactions between psychosocial adversity and resilience factors can therefore strengthen understanding of aging.

Adopting a life-course perspective in aging-related research is also important to consider the differential and cumulative effects of adversity experienced at different points in the life-course. Longitudinal studies are needed to track intra-individual changes, and multi-disciplinary studies such as those that combine neuroimaging methods with neuropsychological assessments can provide additional insights.

This Research Topic invites manuscripts that consider the impact of psychosocial adversity on age-related decline (including physiological, cognitive, neural, and functional outcomes), as well as factors that may moderate or mediate observed impacts, such as social and psychological resources, lifestyle behaviors, and genetic factors. We encourage contributions, including Original Articles, Reviews, Meta-analyses, Methods, Protocols, and Perspectives from a range of inter-related disciplines including but not limited to: psychology, epidemiology, public health, social science, endocrinology, genetics, and neuroscience.


Keywords: Aging, adversity, psychosocial factors, cognitive decline, physiological decline, functional decline, biological age, biomarkers, epigenetics, brain, lifecourse trajectories, resilience


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

12 June 2021 Abstract
10 October 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

12 June 2021 Abstract
10 October 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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