Social capital: an independent dimension of healthy ageing

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Cédric Sueur, Martin Quque, Alexandre Naud, Audrey Bergouignan, François Criscuolo


Resources that are embedded in social relationships, such as shared knowledge, access to food, services, social support or cooperation, are all examples of social capital. Social capital is recognized as an important age-related mediator of health in humans and of fitness-related traits in animals. A rich social capital in humans can slow senescence and reverse age-related deficits. Animals have been shown to adjust their social capital at different life stages (i.e., early, reproductive and post-reproductive life), which may promote individual fitness. However, the underlying biological mechanisms remain unknown. We suggest future research avenues to focus on social capital as a modifiable dimension to gain a better understanding of variations in senescence, and thereby provide new approaches to promote healthy ageing.



Animal Sciences, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Evolution, Life Sciences, Medicine and Health Sciences, Other Social and Behavioral Sciences, Physiology, Public Health, Research Methods in Life Sciences, Social and Behavioral Sciences, Zoology


Ageing, evolution, health, Social capital, social network, Trade-offs


Published: 2021-05-24 21:21

Last Updated: 2021-09-30 14:01

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