BioScience Trends. 2010;4(2):61-71.

Factors related to well-being among the elderly in urban China focusing on multiple roles.

Chen JX, Murayama S, Kamibeppu K


Although studies have suggested that having multiple roles is beneficial to well-being in Western society, little is known about the effect of multiple roles in non-Western subjects. We explored predictive factors contributing to well-being, focusing on multiple roles, among elderly Chinese subjects. A cross-sectional survey was conducted among 356 adults aged 60 and older who retired from one university and lived in urban China; participants completed a self-administered questionnaire and returned it by mail. Well-being, the dependent variable, was measured by the Satisfaction with Life Scale. Independent variables included demographics, physical health, financial status, self-efficacy, and the number and frequency of multiple roles. Gender-segregated multiple linear regression analyses were performed. For males, factors related to better well-being were older age, absence of chronic diseases, better financial status, higher self-efficacy, absence of conflict with others, and having grandchildren. For females, factors relating to better well-being were absence of severe illness of a significant other, absence of conflict with others, more roles, more contact with neighbors, and engaging in more group and personal recreational activities. In conclusion, our results highlight predictive factors contributing to well-being among elderly Chinese subjects, and indicate the presence of gender differences. In terms of multiple roles, having more roles, having more contact with neighbors, and engaging in more group activities were significantly related to better well-being for women, but not for men; having grandchildren was significantly related to better well-being for men, but not for women. It is necessary to consider gender when providing livelihood support to elderly Chinese subjects.

KEYWORDS: Elderly, gender, multiple roles, well-being, urban China

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