Widowhood and Mortality Risk of Older People in Rural China: Do Gender and Living Arrangement Make a Difference?

Huijun Liu , Xi'an Jiaotong University
Quanbao Jiang, Xi'an Jiaotong University

Increased mortality after spousal bereavement has been observed in many populations. Few studies have investigated the widowhood effect in a traditional culture where the economy is underdeveloped. The reasons for the widowhood effect and its gender dynamic are not well understood. In this study, we assessed whether the widowhood-associated excess mortality exists and differs by gender and living arrangement in rural China. We used a six-waves panel of data derived from rural people over 60 years old in the Chaohu region of China. Cox-regression analyses suggest that there was a positive effect of spousal loss on mortality for older rural Chinese and that there was a gender difference in this effect. Our findings also suggest that living with adult children after spousal loss played a protective role in reducing the risk of older men’s death, though it tended to increase older men's mortality risk in general.

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 Presented in Session 6. Health & Mortality & Aging