Educational Attainment and Emotional Health among Middle-Aged and Elderly Chinese Adults

Yifan Bai, Pennsylvania State University
Suet-ling Pong, Pennsylvania State University
Jing Liu, Pennsylvania State University

Using data from the 2011 China Health and Retirement Longitudinal Study (CHARLS), we show that education is significantly associated with decreased frequency of depression among Chinese adults aged 45 and above. We examine hypotheses based on explanations of the elderly’s financial capital, family connections, and cognitive functioning. The results show that the education-depression relationship can be partly explained by the elderly’s financial and human capital but not social relations around the family. Because old people who have an elementary education have significantly better cognitive functioning than those who have no schooling, controlling for cognitive functioning eliminates the educational difference at the lowest level. Cognitive functioning also reduces the influence on depression of an education at middle-school level and beyond.

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 Presented in Session P4. Children and Youth/Population and Aging