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Health among the oldest-old in China: Which living arrangements make a difference?

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  • Li, Lydia W.
  • Zhang, Jiaan
  • Liang, Jersey

Abstract

This study aims to (1) examine the association of living arrangements and health among oldest-old Chinese, and (2) investigate gender differences in the association of living arrangements and health. Data were from the first two waves of the Chinese Longitudinal Healthy Longevity Survey, which included 9093 Chinese averaging 92 years old. Living arrangements had six mutually exclusive categories: living alone, with spouse, with children, with spouse and children, with others and in institutions. Using multinomial logistic regression, we found that baseline living arrangements are significantly associated with mortality, activities of daily living (ADL) disability, and self-rated health at Wave 2, controlling for baseline health, sociodemographic characteristics and availability of children. Further, the linkages between living arrangements and mortality vary by gender. Among the different living arrangements, having a spouse in the household (either with a spouse only or with both a spouse and children) provides the best health protection. Living alone and living with children are associated with both health advantages and disadvantages. Institutional living lowers mortality risk for men but not women. Living with others provides the least health benefits. Our study has extended the research on living arrangements and health to a unique population--the oldest-old in China--and clarified the health advantages and disadvantages of different living arrangements. Future research should examine the mechanisms linking living arrangements and health, and the experience of institutional living for men and women in China.

Suggested Citation

  • Li, Lydia W. & Zhang, Jiaan & Liang, Jersey, 2009. "Health among the oldest-old in China: Which living arrangements make a difference?," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 68(2), pages 220-227, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:68:y:2009:i:2:p:220-227
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Gu, Danan & Dupre, Matthew E. & Liu, Guangya, 2007. "Characteristics of the institutionalized and community-residing oldest-old in China," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 64(4), pages 871-883, February.
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    Cited by:

    1. Cheng, Cheng, 2017. "Anticipated support from children and later-life health in the United States and China," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 179(C), pages 201-209.
    2. Kou, Lirong & Xu, Honggang & Hannam, Kevin, 2017. "Understanding seasonal mobilities, health and wellbeing to Sanya, China," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 177(C), pages 87-99.
    3. Maruyama, Shiko, 2015. "The effect of coresidence on parental health in Japan," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 35(C), pages 1-22.
    4. Lingguo Cheng & Hong Liu & Ye Zhang & Zhong Zhao, 2018. "The heterogeneous impact of pension income on elderly living arrangements: evidence from China’s new rural pension scheme," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 31(1), pages 155-192, January.
    5. Feinian Chen & Hui Liu & Kriti Vikram & Yu Guo, 2015. "For Better or Worse: The Health Implications of Marriage Separation Due to Migration in Rural China," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 52(4), pages 1321-1343, August.
    6. Turner, Alex J. & Nikolova, Silviya & Sutton, Matt, 2016. "The effect of living alone on the costs and benefits of surgery amongst older people," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 150(C), pages 95-103.
    7. Meliyanni Johar & Shiko Maruyama, 2014. "Does Coresidence Improve An Elderly Parent'S Health?," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 29(6), pages 965-983, September.
    8. Shiko Maruyama, 2012. "Inter Vivos Health Transfers: Final Days of Japanese Elderly Parents," Discussion Papers 2012-20, School of Economics, The University of New South Wales.
    9. Feng, Zhixin & Jones, Kelvyn & Wang, Wenfei Winnie, 2015. "An exploratory discrete-time multilevel analysis of the effect of social support on the survival of elderly people in China," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 130(C), pages 181-189.

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