Health Trajectories of Women in China: The Role of Parental Caregiving.


Journal Article

OBJECTIVES: Studies show that caregiving can have negative consequences on the psychological and physical health of its providers. However, few studies have examined the immediate and long-term impact of caregiving on health and none have considered these longitudinal associations among women in a predominately family-care society such as China. METHOD: Six waves of data from the Ever-Married Women Survey component of the China Health and Nutrition Survey (n = 6,178) are used for analysis. Multivariate latent growth models are used to examine trajectories of self-rated health associated with providing care to parents (parental caregiving) among young-adult and middle-aged women in China. RESULTS: Results show that women who are caregivers to their parents have consistently worse self-reported health than women who do not have caregiving responsibilities. We find that caregivers--especially those who provide high-intensity care--exhibit initially low levels of health, followed by a period of health improvement that is comparable to noncaregivers. However, this pattern of role adaptation in women is followed by a precipitous decline in self-rated health in later years. DISCUSSION: The findings demonstrate the subjective health consequences of caregiving for women in China and provide new evidence to support the life course processes of wear-and-tear and role adaptation.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Liu, G; Dupre, ME

Published Date

  • March 2016

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 71 / 2

Start / End Page

  • 320 - 331

PubMed ID

  • 25315160

Pubmed Central ID

  • 25315160

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1758-5368

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1093/geronb/gbu144


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States