Intergenerational Emotional Cohesion and Psychological Well-Being of Older Adults in Rural China: A Moderated Mediation Model of Loneliness and Friendship Ties

Xiaoyan Zhang, Merril Silverstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objectives: Although researchers have linked intergenerational emotional cohesion (IEC) to psychological well-being (PWB) among older adults, the mechanisms and conditions under which IEC is related to PWB - particularly in rural areas - are less well understood. This study analyzed data from rural China to examine whether loneliness mediated the relationship between IEC and PWB, and whether friendship ties moderated the strength of the direct and indirect relationships between IEC and PWB. Methods: Mediation and moderated mediation models were tested using a sample of rural adults aged 60 and older (N = 958) from the Longitudinal Study of Older Adults in Anhui Province, China. Measures included IEC, friendship ties, loneliness, and 2 PWB indicators - depressive symptoms and life satisfaction. Results: The results revealed that IEC was negatively related to loneliness, which in turn was associated with depressive symptoms and life satisfaction. Furthermore, this indirect pathway linking IEC and depressive symptoms (but not life satisfaction) was positively conditioned on the size of friendship ties. Discussion: This study advances our understanding of the mechanism through which IEC influences PWB in older adults. Alleviating loneliness could help boost PWB. Other implications for practice and future research are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)525-535
Number of pages11
JournalJournals of Gerontology - Series B Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences
Volume77
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2022

Keywords

  • Aging parents
  • Depression
  • Friendship ties
  • Intergenerational relations
  • Loneliness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies

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