The Survival Advantage of Siblings of Centenarians: Contribution of Childhood Conditions

Valérie Jarry, Université de Montréal
Robert R. Bourbeau, Université de Montréal
Alain Gagnon, University of Western Ontario

Previous studies showed that siblings of centenarians experienced greater longevity than their birth cohort, revealing that surviving to very old ages is modulated by a familial component. Therefore, a substantial body of literature has focused on familial childhood conditions as a source of mortality differential in old age. However, less established in the literature is whether early-life factors have an influence on mortality within long lived families. In this paper we discuss longevity factors which could affect an individual’s chance to reach advanced ages, with particular focus on siblings of centenarians. We utilized an event-history database that links age at death of individuals to their childhood characteristics gathered from the 1901 and 1911 Canadian census records. We examine, on the one hand, the survival advantage of siblings of centenarians and, on the other hand, whether their survival advantage can be explained by the sharing of childhood circumstances, using shared frailty models.

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Presented in Session 146: Becoming a Centenarian