Social Environment and Biomarkers of Aging Study (SEBAS, ICPSR #3792) in Taiwan
Taiwan has undergone rapid demographic, social, and economic changes, becoming a highly urbanized and industrial society with a growing population of persons age 65 or older. SEBAS explores the relationship between life challenges and mental and physical health, the impact of social environment on the health and well-being of the elderly and biological markers of health and stress. The study collected self-reports of physical, psychological, and social well-being, plus extensive clinical data based on medical examinations and laboratory analyses. Examination of health outcomes included chronic illnesses, functional status, psychological well-being, and cognitive function. Questions regarding life challenges focused on perceived stress, economic difficulties, security and safety, and the consequences of a major earthquake. Biological markers were used to identify cardiovascular risk factors, metabolic process measures, immune-system activity, the hypothalamic-pituitary adrenal axis, and sympathetic nervous system activity. Two rounds of biomarker data collected in 2000 and 2006 are complemented by face-to-face interviews with the participants. The purpose of this study is to examine the antecedents, correlates, and consequences of change in biological measures and health. Specifically, the principal investigators aimed to examine three questions:
1. What individual and environmental factors contribute to our understanding of downstream health and survival? The principal investigators focused on links between health and stressful experience, SES, psychosocial vulnerability and emotional well-being.
2. What factors predict change in bioindicators? The principal investigators examined demographic and psychosocial factors along with environmental exposures to determine how prior experience is associated with change in biomarkers. They focused on the effects of socioeconomic status (SES), emotional well-being, and chronic and acute stressors. They examined change across the full array of biomarkers.
3. Do changes in bioindicators predict health outcomes and survival? The principal investigators used a life course framework to explore how change in bioindicators and trajectories of prior experience and exposures are associated with subsequent health, physical and cognitive function, and survival. Of particular interest are several high-profile bioindicators (telomere length, 5-HTTLPR genotype, and inflammatory markers), new data on factors that may modify these associations (trauma, caregiving, sleep quality, chronic pain, and optimism), and gene-environment interactions.
Noreen Goldman, Princeton University
Maxine Weinstein, Georgetown University
Ming-Cheng Chang, Taiwan Department of Health. Bureau of Health Promotion
Hui-Sheng Lin, Taiwan Department of Health. Bureau of Health Promotion
Yi-Li Chuang, Taiwan Department of Health. Bureau of Health Promotion
Shio-Jean Lin, Taiwan Department of Health. Bureau of Health Promotion
Shiow-Ing Wu, Taiwan Department of Health. Bureau of Health Promotion