The word senescence is derived from senescere, the Latin word for growing old. Today, the word refers to the general process of deterioration of functional status and accumulation of biological insults with increasing age and is associated with increasing mortality risk. Senescence can be defined with respect to the broader general functioning of the organism or at a subordinate level to cellular or subcellular senescence. In other words, researchers often discuss senescence either as a synonym for the aging process on the whole or the physiological and biological indication of aging. This entry provides a discussion on both fronts, defining what senescence means for life-span researchers.

Discussing senescence at the broader, superordinate level reflects a long-standing tradition within life-span theories of developmental psychology. For instance, G. ...

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