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Current Gerontology and Geriatrics Research
Volume 2010, Article ID 525693, 9 pages
Research Article

Resilience Significantly Contributes to Exceptional Longevity

Yi Zeng1,2,3 and Ke Shen2

1Center for the Study of Aging and Human Development and Geriatric Division of Medical School, Duke University, Box 3003, Room 1506, BUSSE Building, Durham, NC 27710, USA
2China Center for Economic Research, National School of Development at Peking University, Beijing 10087, China
3Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Konrad Zuse Straße 1, 18057 Rostock, Germany

Received 30 April 2010; Revised 5 July 2010; Accepted 26 October 2010

Academic Editor: Donald Craig Willcox

Copyright © 2010 Yi Zeng and Ke Shen. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Objective. We aim to investigate whether centenarians are significantly more resilient than younger elders and whether resilience significantly contributes to exceptional longevity. Data. 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. Methods and Results. 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. Conclusions. 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.