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Chen, "Social support, social change, and psychological well-being of the elderly in China: Does the type and source of support matter?" 2001
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Xuan Chen, Ph.D.
China is experiencing dramatic population aging as a result of the implementation of the "one child per couple" policy and the increase in life expectancy. This demographic change as well as other socioeconomic changes currently occurring in China has put into doubt the continued viability of traditional care arrangements for the Chinese elderly. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to investigate how traditional elder-care arrangements are responding to the socioeconomic changes in contemporary China. Guided by the task-specific model of social support, multinomial logistic regression analysis of a random sample of 3,363 older adults living in Beijing, China in 1992 is used to study how social changes shape the sources of support providing for the elderly in China. In addition, a longitudinal analysis is used to investigate how social support influence the quality of life of the Chinese elderly.
Those analyses found that Chinese elderly turn primarily to a spouse for instrumental and emotional help and to adult children, particularly sons, for financial assistance and anticipated help. Emotional and instrumental support from a spouse and financial and anticipated support from adult children improve the psychological well-being of the elderly in China. This study concluded that (1) the process of social support to the elderly in China can be better observed by specifying the task and source of the support; and (2) both structural and cultural conditions shape the pattern and effectiveness of social support to the elderly in China.
Advisor: Silverstein, Merril
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