Relationship with others and life satisfaction in later life: Do gender and widowhood make a difference?

Sheung-Tak CHENG, Alfred C. M. CHAN

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Abstract

In this study we investigated whether social relationship is a stronger determinant of life satisfaction in older women than in older men, and whether this is more obvious in widowed than in married persons, in a representative sample of Chinese individuals aged 60 or older in Hong Kong (N = 1,616). We tested the moderating effect of gender and widowhood by means of a multigroup analysis in structural equation modeling that incorporated other major predictors of life satisfaction. Consistent with predictions, relatedness was much more important for women than for men. Furthermore, relatedness was the most important determinant of life satisfaction in women, regardless of marital status, but it was only a moderate predictor in married men, and even an irrelevant factor in widowers. We discuss the results in terms of how gender roles shape relationship goals, and thus how men and women evaluate life satisfaction differently in the context of relationship with others. Copyright © 2006 The Gerontological Society of America.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)46-53
JournalThe Journals of Gerontology: Series B
Volume61B
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2006

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gender
widower
determinants
marital status
gender role
Hong Kong
human being

Citation

Cheng, S.-T., & Chan, A. C. M. (2006). Relationship with others and life satisfaction in later life: Do gender and widowhood make a difference? Journal of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences, 61B(1), P46-P53. doi: 10.1093/geronb/61.1.P46