Whose education counts? The added impact of adult-child education on physical functioning of older Taiwanese
Zimmer,Zachary; Hermalin,Albert I.; Lin,Hui-Sheng
Journals of Gerontology Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences 57B(1): S23-S32
Publication date: 2002
Research has implicated education as an importantpredictor of physical functioning in old age. Older adults inTaiwan tend to experience tight familial integration and highrates of adult-child coresidency-much more so than istypical in Western cultures-which might imply additionalinfluences stemming from the education of children. This couldarise in a number of ways; for instance, through the sharingof health-related information between child and parent, thequality of caregiving efforts, monetary assistance for medicaland other services, or other psychosocial avenues. Despite thisprobable association, such hypotheses have rarely been tested.In this study, a nationally representative survey of older Taiwanesewas used to examine these concurrent effects.
Outcome variables include the existence of any functionallimitations (dichotomously measured) and the severity of functionaldisorders (ordinally measured). Dichotomous and ordinal logisticmodels were used.
Results suggest that, after adjusting for age, sex,and other factors, both child and respondent education associatewith the existence of limitations, but the child's educationis more important than the parent's when predicting severityof limitations.
This implies that models ignoring social networkcharacteristics in determining health outcomes of older adultsmay be misspecified, at least in some non-Western societies,and calls for further testing in other societies as well.