Great Smoky Mountains Study of Rural Aging

Project Description

This project will augment the longitudinal Great Smoky Mountains Study (GSMS) to create a national data resource, the Great Smoky Mountains Study of Rural Aging , for the study of early determinants of the aging experience in a rural context. Aging is primarily studied with samples that begin in midlife or later and assess individuals yearly or less often. By building on the GSMS, this project will allow researchers to continue to study into their 40s a population that has assessment data going back to childhood.

Furthermore, a premature mortality crisis has ravaged rural communities where economic opportunities and key infrastructures have declined and social disintegration has increased The objective of work is to develop a new data resource that captures the full arc of a life with intimate detail about living and aging in a rural context.

Project Goals

  • Assess participant's health, health risks, and cognitive, social and economic functioning in their early 40s
  • Evaluate everyday life and the rural context of adults in rural Appalachia
  • Harmonize data collected in this project with key aging studies to facilitate urban/rural and Appalachia/national comparisons

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