Life-course mechanisms of vulnerability in old age: The role of multi- domain reserves (IP3-Ageing)

Research Agenda

This research group focuses on life-course mechanisms of stress and stress regulation in old age and the role of reserve build-up and activation. To better understand how the lack of some individual and social resources unfolding over the second part of adulthood may affect stress and stress regulation in old age, this research group studies multi-domain (education, professional and family careers, leisure activities, but also welfare regimes) reserve build-up and activation as key mechanisms of development of vulnerability and resilience in older age. As most studies on our topics have so far been cross-sectional and correlational, our longitudinal and experimental designs contributes to fill important gaps in the literature. First, we shall perform fine-grained analyses of the longitudinal dynamics of reserve build-up processes and their effects on functioning in older age. Here we shall study the co-development of reserves and related outcomes by exploring available longitudinal interdisciplinary databases. We shall consider both individual factors (gender, cognitive capital, resilience, etc.) and structural influences (socio-economic position (SEP), neighbourhood SEP), thereby contributing to debates about the primordiality and cross-influence of agency and structures. In a second step, we shall directly target the activation of reserves in stress situations, both in controlled settings and in measurement-burst designs in everyday life. This will add a novel methodological perspective to the study of stress that will allow experimental testing of our proposed causal mechanisms.


Prof. Matthias Kliegel (University of Geneva)
Prof. Jürgen Maurer (University of Lausanne)
  • UNIGE: Olivier Desrichard, Paolo Ghisletta, Michel Oris, Eric Widmer
  • HES-SO (Fribourg): Jean-François Bickel, Christian Maggiori
Researchers and post-docs
  • UNIGE: Marie Baeriswyl, Nicola Ballhausen, Oana Ciobanu, Delphine Fagot, David Framorando, Myriam Girardin, Andreas Ihle, Emilie Joly-Burra, Sarah Ludwig-Dehm, Sascha Zuber 
Doctoral students
  • UNIGE: Morgane Kuenzi, Greta Mikneviciute, Siboney Minko, Rojin Sadeghi, Julia Sauter, Rose Van der Linden
  • HES-SO (Fribourg): François Geiser