Grandparent–Grandchild Family Capital and Self-Rated Health of Older Rural Chinese Adults: The Role of the Grandparent–Parent Relationship

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Abstract

Objectives.

This study tested the relationship between grandparent–grandchild family capital and self-rated health of older rural Chinese adults and the mediating role of the grandparent–parent relationship in terms of grandparent–grandchild family capital and self-rated health.

Methods.

Data were derived from a random sample of 1,027 adults aged 60 and older who were interviewed in the rural Chaohu region in 2009. Structural equation modeling was used to examine the direct effect of grandparent–grandchild family capital in terms of relations with the first child’s family on self-rated health among respondents, as well as the mediating effect of the grandparent–parent relationship.

Results.

The results showed the direct effect of grandparent–grandchild family capital on self-rated health of older rural Chinese adults. The grandparent–parent relationship had a partial mediation effect on the relationship between grandparent–grandchild family capital and self-rated health of respondents.

Discussion.

Grandparent–grandchild family capital had a unique direct effect on the self-rated health of older rural Chinese adults, enriching our theoretical understanding of sources of family capital and their impacts in a collectivist cultural context that emphasizes intergenerational interaction and exchange. The findings also highlighted the mediation effects of grandparent–parent relationships on the relationship between grandparent–grandchild family capital and self-rated health of older rural Chinese adults, supporting the “grandchild-as-linkage” hypothesis in understanding the social determination of self-rated health in China.

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