Depressive Symptoms Among Adult Children Aged 55 Years or Older: The Effects of Support Provided to Their Older Parents

Xiang Gao, Qiuju Guo, Fei Sun, David Hodge

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Scopus citations


Objectives: This study examines the effects of frequency of visits, monetary, and in-kind support provided to older parents on the depressive symptoms of adult children. Method: This study drew secondary data from the China Health and Retirement Longitudinal Study Follow-up Questionnaire. A total of 629 older children aged 55 years and older (M = 59.80, standard deviation = 3.90) met the inclusion criteria. The dependent variable—depressive symptoms—was measured with the Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression scale. Results: Approximately 22% of participants reported clinically significant levels of depressive symptoms. Hierarchical regression analyses found that more frequent visits and monetary support to older parents were related to lower levels of depressive symptoms in older children. Conclusion: Providing monetary support to parents may help mitigate a major concern of parents: health-care costs. Older children’s altruistic behaviors meet legal and cultural expectations in Chinese society, contributing to family intimacy and thereby their own mental health outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)372-386
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Journal of Aging and Human Development
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2019



  • depression
  • elder care
  • frequent visits
  • in-kind support
  • monetary support
  • social support

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aging
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology

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