Contributory behaviors and life satisfaction among Chinese older adults: Exploring variations by gender and living arrangements.
The rapid population aging taking place in China makes studies tackling opportunities associated with aging an urgent priority. Based on the productive aging perspective, this study examines the relationship between contributory behaviors (i.e., providing economic, housework, and emotional support to adult children and providing care for grandchildren) and life satisfaction, as well as how gender and living arrangements modify the relationship. Using data collected from 809 older adults in Wuhan, China, and applying ordinary least squares regressions, this study found that engaging in contributory behaviors in general, and providing emotional support to adult children and caring for grandchildren in particular, are associated with enhanced life satisfaction. The association between caring for grandchildren and life satisfaction is only salient for males but not for females. For living arrangements, the positive association between engaging in contributory behaviors and life satisfaction is only identified among older adults living with their spouse and other family members. The positive association of providing emotional support to adult children with life satisfaction is significant for older adults living with their spouse only. Finally, frequently taking care of grandchildren is related positively to life satisfaction among those living with both spouse and other family members. Our findings provide empirical evidence suggesting that Chinese older adults are still very active in providing support to family members and highlight the beneficial effects of contributory behaviors on individual's life satisfaction. For policy makers, it is important to continuously promote values of contributing behaviors to family and take into account the importance of family ties and family support to older adults when designing new elder care programs.
Liu, S; Zhang, W; Wu, L-H; Wu, B
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