The Normative Aging Study (NAS) is a longitudinal study of aging in men initiated by the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) in 1963. The objectives of the NAS are to:

- Characterize the biomedical and psychosocial parameters of normal aging as distinct from the development of disease;

- Define the incidence and precursors of the diseases accompanying aging; and

- Examine the influence of lifestyle and major life events on the aging process.

General Design

Study Design Cohort
General Information on Follow Up (profile, frequency)

Originally, participants reported every 3 years (age 52 or older) or 5 years (younger than age 52) for their exam. Since 1986, a 3-year interval has been used for all men. In the month before their scheduled exam, men are mailed a packet of surveys to complete and bring with them to their exam.

Recruitment Target
  • Individuals
Number of Participants


Number of Participants with Biological Samples



Not Applicable
Don't Know
Possible Access to Data

Possible Access to Biosamples


Marker Paper

Bell B, Rose CL, Damon H. The Normative Aging Study: an interdisciplinary and longitudinal study of health and aging. Aging and Human Development, 1972; 3: 5-17.

Supplementary Information

Access to data is by request to the PI’s and is considered on a case-by-case basis. The data are not publicly available.


Second marker paper:

Bossé, R., Ekerdt, D., & Silbert, J. (1984).  The Veterans Administration Normative Aging Study.  In S. A. Mednick, M. Harway, & K. M. Finello (Eds.), Handbook of longitudinal research:  Vol 2.  Teenage and adult cohorts (pp. 273-289).  New York:  Praeger.

Study Timeline

Each colour in the timeline graph below represents a separate Study Population, while each segment in the graph represents a separate Data Collection Event. Clicking on a segment gives more detailed information on a Data Collection Event.


NAS population

The study panel consists of 2280 initially healthy men who were enrolled between 1961 and 1970 in the Boston area, and aged 21 to 81 years.

Sources of Recruitment

Supplementary Information

The participants were recruited through large companies with a stable workforce, including a large insurance company, the post office, and metropolitan police and fire departments, and from radio and newspaper advertisements.

Selection Criteria

Gender Men only
Country United States of America

Boston area

Health Status Initially healthy

Sample Size

Number of Participants


Number of Participants with Biological Samples


Data Collection Events

NAS - Psychosocial Domain - Phase I

The Social Screening survey was used to screen...

NAS - Biomedical Domain

Originally, participants reported every 3 years...

NAS - Health Behavior Domain

Mail surveys on smoking and drinking behaviors...

NAS - Psychosocial Domain - Phase II

In Phase II, psychosocial data were collected...

NAS - Psychosocial Domain - Phase III

In Phase III, information on mental health and...

NAS - Psychosocial Domain - Phase IV

In Phase IV, data are collected on health,...


Variables classifications