This study examines the pattern of social support exchange between Chinese elderly and their adult children, based on a 1989 rural Chinese household survey. Following social exchange theory, we found reciprocity in household support but not in financial support. Elderly with greater resource capacities (i.e., health, income, education, and social network) were more likely to provide than receive assistance, whereas those with fewer resources had the opposite patterns. The exchange of support was more likely to be related to affective and nonfinancial instrumental support than financial instrumental support. Because only 42% of elderly with one or two children were living with their children, a formal pension and elderly care system is needed to complement the informal support system.
- Chinese elderly
- Formal support
- Intergenerational care exchange
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Geriatrics and Gerontology