Berlin age study

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The Berlin Aging Study (BASE) is a German multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary study that examines questions about the differential concept of aging , skills and action reserves of older and very old people ( senior citizens ) with a large number of people of different ages and very old .


The study was started in 1989 by the working group "Aging and Social Development" (AGE) of the then Academy of Sciences . In carrying out the Berlin Aging Study, an AGE working group cooperated with the Psychiatric Clinic of the Free University of Berlin and several other clinics in the city and with two research areas of the Max Planck Institute for Human Development .

BASE comprises four research units (FE): internal medicine and geriatrics , psychiatry , psychology as well as sociology and social policy .

Four theoretical orientations of gerontological research were pursued: differential aging, continuity and discontinuity in the aging and life course, capacity and action reserves of older people and aging as a systemic phenomenon .

Paul B. Baltes , Karl Ulrich Mayer , Hanfried Helmchen and Elisabeth Steinhagen-Thiessen were primarily responsible for the study .


The Berlin Age Study is characterized by the multidisciplinarity and interdisciplinarity of the surveys, concentration on the elderly and the elderly as well as the work with a sample representative of Berlin (West) , which is stratified by age and gender .

This contains the core or intensive sample of the study. It consists of 516 people aged 70 to over 100 years of age, men and women, in the age groups 70–74, 75–79, 80–84, 85–89, 90–94, 95 and more years (including over 100 Year-olds ) are represented in this core sample with 43 people each. This equal distribution was a goal of the study in order to be able to make statistically sufficiently reliable statements for subgroups (e.g. very old men and women, people with dementia).

In addition to the multidisciplinary initial survey, the intensive survey of the study consisted of 13 further parts of the investigation, each lasting approx. 1.5 hours, on internal-geriatric, psychiatric, psychological and sociological, economic and socio-political issues of aging. 516 participants in the main study (27% of the sample or 56% of the participants in the multidisciplinary initial survey) completed this extensive research program.

The surveys as a cross-sectional study were ended in summer 1996. The results of the main study have been presented at conferences and congresses since 1991 and have been published since 1992. Then there was a partial continuation as a longitudinal study .

Continuation of the Berlin Aging Study II

The BASE-II follow-up study examines the physical, mental and social conditions that contribute to the most successful aging possible. A total of 2,200 Berliners are examined, 1,600 of them are between 60 and 80 years old, and - as a comparison group - 600 between 20 and 35 years old. The first wave of investigations began in 2009 and ended in 2015. The first wave of the study was funded by the BMBF. BASE-II is designed as a longitudinal study: It is planned to examine the participants repeatedly at intervals of about three years in order to be able to determine changes. Elisabeth Steinhagen-Thiessen (Geriatrics Research Group at the Charité), Lars Bertram (University of Lübeck, formerly the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics), Ulman Lindenberger (Max Planck Institute for Human Development) and Gert G. Wagner are primarily responsible for the study (SOEP / German Institute for Economic Research) and Graham Pawelec (University of Tübingen). The spokesperson for the study is Denis Gerstorf (Humboldt University Berlin).

See also


  • KU Mayer, Paul. B Baltes (Ed.): The Berlin Age Study. Akademie Verlag, Berlin 1996, ISBN 3-05-002574-3 .
  • E. Steinhagen-Thiessen, M. Borchelt: Morbidity, medication and functionality in old age. In: KU Mayer, PB Baltes (Hrsg.): The Berlin Age Study. Akademie Verlag, Berlin 1996. (
  • L. Bertram, A. Böckenhoff, I. Demuth, S. Düzel, R. Eckardt, S.-C. Li, U. Lindenberger, G. Pawelec, T. Siedler, GG Wagner, E. Steinhagen-Thiessen: Cohort profile: The Berlin Aging Study II (BASE-II). In: International Journal of Epidemiology. Volume 43, 2014, pp. 703-712. doi: 10.1093 / ije / dyt018
  • D. Gerstorf, L. Bertram, U. Lindenberger, G. Pawelec, E. Steinhagen-Thiessen, GG Wagner (eds.): The Berlin Aging Study II: An overview [Special Section]. In: Gerontology. Volume 62, 2016, pp. 311-362.

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