Filial piety matters: A study of intergenerational supports and parental health

Yang Li, Miao Guo

Research output: Journal PublicationArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


Eldercare has become a major challenge in China. As intergenerational support from children remains the primary source of caregiving, this paper investigates the impact of such support on parents' health outcomes. Exploiting data from the China Health and Retirement Longitudinal Study (CHARLS), we adopt the Heckman selection model and ordered probit model with instrumental variables, the firstborn son and firstborn daughter, to control for the potential endogeneity existing between intergenerational support and parents’ health outcomes. Our results suggest that intergenerational support, including emotional and financial support, is effective in improving parental health status, including physical and psychological well-being and performance of activities of daily living (ADL) and instrumental activities of daily living (IADL). Emotional support also improves parental cognition. Children have trade-offs between emotional and financial support. Our findings provide insight into more efficient healthcare for the elderly.
Original languageEnglish
Article number101096
Number of pages15
JournalSSM - Population Health
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2022


  • Elder care
  • Intergenerational support
  • Physical health
  • Mental health
  • Activities of daily living
  • Instrumental activities of daily living
  • Cognition


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