Childlessness, Psychological Well-Being, and Life Satisfaction among the Elderly in China

Weiguo Zhang, University of Toronto
Guiping Liu, University of Victoria

With application of ordered-logit regression in the analysis of the third wave Chinese Longitudinal Healthy Longevity Survey (CLHLS) conducted in 22 provinces of China in 2002, this paper examines the effects of childlessness on well-being of the older persons in China. It focuses on three dimension of well-being: life satisfaction; feeling fearful and anxiety; and feeling lonely and isolated. It is found that: (a), Childlessness is significantly associated with life satisfaction and anxiety, but not loneliness. The childless elderly is among the least satisfactory with their lives, and they feel higher level of anxiety than parents; however, they do not necessarily feel significantly more lonely than parents. (b), When controlled with individual socio-demographic and socioeconomic variables, childlessness is no longer significantly associated with psychological well-being and life satisfaction. (c) Individual education, residence, living arrangement, economic security and access to medical services, are consistently related to psychological well-being and life satisfaction.

Presented in Poster Session 1: Fertility, Family Planning, Reproductive Health