Social hallmarks of aging: Suggestions for geroscience research

TitleSocial hallmarks of aging: Suggestions for geroscience research
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2020
AuthorsCrimmins, EM
JournalAgeing Research Reviews
ISBN Number1568-1637
KeywordsBiological age – chronological age, Hallmarks of aging, Social determinants of aging

This paper focuses on the idea that there are clear social hallmarks of aging including low lifetime socioeconomic status, adversity in childhood and adulthood, being a member of a minority group, adverse health behaviors, and adverse psychological states. The “Social Hallmarks of Aging” are analogous to the “Geroscience Hallmarks of Aging” in reflecting a set of underlying and interrelated social causes of multiple agerelated health outcomes. This paper presents empirical work incorporating the social hallmarks of aging with indicators of multiple biological hallmarks of aging as well downstream biology in explaining a range of health outcomes in order to show the relative strength of the associations of social and biological measures with important health outcomes. Social factors are strongly related to physical and cognitive functioning and multimorbidity in this older population and this remains true when the significant number of biological measures are controlled. This can be interpreted to mean that a significant amount of social variance in age-related health outcomes is not explained by these measures of biology. Indicators of the geroscience hallmarks of aging only relate modestly to the variability in human health outcomes. Attention to the social hallmarks related to human aging can usefully be incorporated into work on the biological hallmarks of aging to make greater progress in understanding human aging.

Citation Key10997
PubMed ID32798771
PubMed Central IDPMC7530044