Online Program

Trajectory of physical health, cognitive function, and psychological well-being among Chinese elderly

Wednesday, November 6, 2013 : 8:54 a.m. - 9:06 a.m.

Wen-Jui Han, MSW, PhD, Silver School of Social Work, New York University, New York, NY
Tazuko Shibusawa, Ph.D., Silver School of Social Work, New York University, New York, NY
We investigate the trajectory of various dimensions of health well-being among the Chinese elderly in their late years. With the rapid increase among the aging population in China, their health well-being are in dire need of attention. This issue is compounded by the one-child policy that many of the elderly would not have children to be able to take care of them. It is also well-documented that physical and psychological health and function in later life are interrelated. For example, studies in the U.S. indicate that elders who are depressed are significantly less likely to recover from fractures than those who were not depressed. It is therefore important to examine both psychological and physical health indicators. This study contributes to the knowledge base on factors associated with physical health, cognitive function, and psychological well-being among the Chinese elderly. We conduct growth-curve analyses on a subsample (n = 1,051) of the elderly from the Chinese Longitudinal Health Longevity Survey (CLHLS) who had information from 1998 to 2005. Results indicate that the elderly who had relatively advantaged childhood socioeconomic status and who had been involved in regular physical and/or leisure activities had significantly healthier well-being than their respective counterparts on all dimensions considered here. In addition, regularly participating in physical and/or leisure activities were found to slow down the deterioration of health well-being. Study highlights the benefits of being physically and/or leisurely active, and the implication to community social service agencies providing resources to facilitate these benefits for the elderly.

Learning Areas:

Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Identify contributing factors to healthy well-being during later life. Analyze protective and risk profile based on sociodemographic characteristics from a longitudinal lens. Analyze healthy well-being profile based on physical and leisure activities. Identify resources profile that may promote longevity and healthy well-being.

Keyword(s): Aging, Well-Being

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Wen-Jui Han; Professor at NYU-SSSW with expertise in Social Policy and Poverty and Inequality. Published extensively in the area of public policies and cross-national studies. Previous APHA presentations: The interplay of parental employment patterns and child maltreatment. Tazuko Shibusawa; Associate Professor at NYU-SSSW with expertise in the health and mental health of older adults and their families, including Asian immigrants.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.