Trajectories and Determinants of Elder Care in Rural China During an 8-Year Period: Why Having Sons Makes a Difference

Man Guo, Iris Chi, Merril D Silverstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Scopus citations


Using 8-year panel data for 1,355 older adults in rural Anhui province, China, this study examined the trajectories and determinants of elder care provided by adult children to their older parents. The results of two-level latent variable growth models showed that trajectories of elder care differed by the gender of children, with an increase in care from sons but a decrease in care from daughters over time. Children’s life stages influenced their care provision but differed by gender. Functional impairment of parents and care provided by siblings in the family also affected the care provided by each child. The findings reflect the patrilineal nature of Chinese family systems and demonstrate the linkages between critical life events and caregiving behaviors of adult children. Findings of this study can inform the formulation of elder care policies that meet the needs of families with different structures and at different life stages.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)531-553
Number of pages23
JournalResearch on Aging
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jul 1 2016



  • caregiving
  • gender differences
  • growth curve
  • life events
  • sibling care

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Social Psychology
  • Health(social science)

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