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Psychological well-being of the institutionalized and community-residing oldest old in China: The role of children


  • Liu, Guangya
  • Dupre, Matthew E.
  • Gu, Danan
  • Mair, Christine A.
  • Chen, Feinian


Studies have shown that institutionalized older adults have worse psychological health than their community-residing counterparts. However, much less is known about this association in developing countries such as China with a rapidly aging population and a short history of institutional care. This article investigates the role of children in differences in psychological well-being between institutionalized and community-residing oldest-old adults in China. Using national data from the 1998, 2000, and 2002 waves of the Chinese Longitudinal Healthy Longevity Survey, results show that the institutionalized have significantly better psychological health—measured by positive affect, loneliness, and quality of life—than those living in the community. Furthermore, we find that the associations are moderated by child-related factors (number of children, proximity, and visits) and strengthened for the three measures of psychological well-being after adjustments for socioeconomic factors, social support, health behaviors, and health status. The results underscore the importance of family dynamics for the psychological health of the institutionalized population in a historically family-care oriented society.

Suggested Citation

  • Liu, Guangya & Dupre, Matthew E. & Gu, Danan & Mair, Christine A. & Chen, Feinian, 2012. "Psychological well-being of the institutionalized and community-residing oldest old in China: The role of children," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 75(10), pages 1874-1882.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:75:y:2012:i:10:p:1874-1882
    DOI: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2012.07.019

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Ming Wen & Danan Gu, 2011. "The Effects of Childhood, Adult, and Community Socioeconomic Conditions on Health and Mortality among Older Adults in China," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 48(1), pages 153-181, February.
    2. repec:aph:ajpbhl:10.2105/ajph.2007.113886_3 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. 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.
    4. Zachary Zimmer & Kim Korinek, 2010. "Shifting coresidence near the end of life: Comparing decedents and survivors of a follow-up study in China," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 47(3), pages 537-554, August.
    5. repec:aph:ajpbhl:1997:87:3:371-377_7 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Seeborg, Michael C. & Jin, Zhenhu & Zhu, Yiping, 2000. "The new rural-urban labor mobility in China: Causes and implications," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 39-56.
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    Cited by:

    1. Schrank, Beate & Bird, Victoria & Tylee, Andre & Coggins, Tony & Rashid, Tayyab & Slade, Mike, 2013. "Conceptualising and measuring the well-being of people with psychosis: Systematic review and narrative synthesis," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 92(C), pages 9-21.


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