Intergenerational support and depression among elders in rural China: Do daughters-in-law matter?

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146 Scopus citations


This study examined the influence of intergenerational assistance with household chores and personal care from sons, daughters, and daughters-in-law on the depressive symptoms of older adults in rural China. The sample derived from rural Anhui Province, a region with a strong hierarchy of support preferences that leads with sons and their families. We used data from a random sample of 1,281 adults aged 60 and over, who were interviewed in 2001 and 2003. Analyses indicated that depressive symptoms were usually reduced by assistance from daughters-in-law and increased sometimes when such support was from sons. These relationships held most strongly when mothers coresided with their daughters-in-law. This research suggests that the benefits of intergenerational support are conditional on culturally prescribed expectations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)599-612
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Marriage and Family
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Adult development and aging
  • Coresidence
  • Depression
  • Gender
  • Intergenerational
  • Non-U.S. families

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anthropology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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