Dynamical Resilience Indicators in Time Series of Self- Rated Health Correspond to Frailty Levels in Older Adults

Sanne Gijzel, I.A. van de Leemput, M. Scheffer, M. Roppolo, Marcel G.M. Olde Rikkert, R.J.F. Melis*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

39 Citations (Scopus)


Background: We currently still lack valid methods to dynamically measure resilience for stressors before the appearance of adverse health outcomes that hamper well-being. Quantifying an older adult’s resilience in an early stage would aid complex decision-making in health care. Translating complex dynamical systems theory to humans, we hypothesized that three dynamical indicators of resilience (variance, temporal autocorrelation, and cross-correlation) in time series of self-rated physical, mental, and social health were associated with frailty levels in older adults. Methods: We monitored self-rated physical, mental, and social health during 100 days using daily visual analogue scale questions in 22 institutionalized older adults (mean age 84.0, SD: 5.9 years). Frailty was determined by the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE) frailty index. The resilience indicators (variance, temporal autocorrelation, and cross-correlation) were calculated using multilevel models. Results: The self-rated health time series of frail elderly exhibited significantly elevated variance in the physical, mental, and social domain, as well as significantly stronger cross-correlations between all three domains, as compared to the nonfrail group (all P < 0.001). Temporal autocorrelation was not significantly associated with frailty. Conclusions: We found supporting evidence for two out of three hypothesized resilience indicators to be related to frailty levels in older adults. By mirroring the dynamical resilience indicators to a frailty index, we delivered a first empirical base to validate and quantify the construct of systemic resilience in older adults in a dynamic way.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)991-996
JournalJournals of Gerontology. Series A: Biological Sciences & Medical Sciences
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Adaptive capacity
  • Complex dynamical system
  • Continuous monitoring
  • Critical transitions
  • Well-being


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