Steptoe, Andrew 2 R01AG017644-21A1
This application is for competitive renewal of funding of the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA) to cover two waves of data collection – wave 10 (2020/21) and wave 11 (2022/23). ELSA started in 2002 as a sister study to the Health and Retirement Survey (HRS), and has been part-funded by NIA since it began, with the remaining funding coming from UK Government Departments (which have already agreed co-funding for these waves). The central aim is to provide a nationally representative population research platform for studying the unfolding dynamic relationships between mental, physical and cognitive health and functioning, economic position, social circumstances and well-being, as people move from work to retirement and into older age.
This application is focused on key current scientific issues relevant to population aging and public policy. These include the reasons behind the slowing in improvements in longevity at older ages; the interaction between genetic, biological, and psychosocial factors in healthy aging; the prevalence, determinants and economic and social consequences of dementia; the impact of retirement and later life labor market activity on health; the influence of pollution and other environmental exposures on health and cognition; the value of ‘social prescribing’ in health care; age discrimination and abuse; barriers to digital technology use among elders; and the role of early and mid-life experiences in aging. The new data needed to tackle these issues will be linked with existing waves, while innovations in methodology and linkage to registry data will be introduced to increase the value of the study for researchers worldwide while lowering costs and reducing participant burden.
The specific objectives of the new proposal are:
1. Introduce new measures of cognition and dementia, working patterns, social prescribing and social care, the use of digital technologies, domestic relationships and abuse, mental health, multimorbidity, early adult and mid-life experience, and actigraphy for measuring sleep and physical activity.
2. Maintain core content from previous waves on economics, social participation, cognitive function and dementia, health, biomarkers, genetics, social care, subjective well-being, and psychosocial factors.
3. Test and implement innovations in survey methods, including an ‘online first’ approach for some content.
4. Oversample ethnic minorities in the refreshment samples at each new wave.
5. Interview approximately 11,680 respondents in waves 10 and 10,770 in 11, with biomedical and physical performance data collection from 50% in each wave.
6. Build on the HCAP substudy to establish cross-walk to dementia and cognitive function in the full sample.
7. Create linkage with primary health care records, pollution data, and financial registry data.
8. Construct 11 waves of accessible and well-documented panel data, increasing accessibility and liaising with sister aging studies in the USA and elsewhere to maximize the international use of ELSA data.