Parents' depressive symptoms and support from sons and daughters in rural China

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21 Scopus citations


This investigation examined how initial levels of elder parents' depressive symptoms influenced financial, instrumental, and emotional support from sons and from daughters in rural China. Data were derived from a two-wave (2001, 2003) longitudinal survey of 1,324 parents aged 60 and over living in rural areas of Anhui Province, China. Structural equation modeling with latent difference score was used to estimate the reciprocal relationships between children's support and elder parents' depressive symptoms. Results showed that older parents who had higher levels of depressive symptoms at baseline experienced reduced financial, instrumental, and emotional support from sons, but not from daughters. In rural China where the patrilineal family system has distinguished sons and daughters with respect to their functions in elder parents' support networks, the roles of sons and daughters warrant further examination, particularly when elder parents have some depressive symptoms, that elevate the needs of the parents and puts a strain on intergenerational relationships.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S4-S17
JournalInternational Journal of Social Welfare
Issue numberSUPPL. 1
StatePublished - Oct 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Depression
  • Gender differences
  • Intergenerational support
  • Rural China
  • Social selection process

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science


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