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Social Participation and Subjective Well-Being Among Retirees in China

Abstract

The current study examined the predictive roles of social participation for subjective well-being among Chinese retirees. The Philadelphia Geriatric Center Morale Scale and the self-developed Social Participation Questionnaire were employed to assess subjective well-being and social participation, respectively. Social participation included four aspects: frequency of social activities, roles in social activities, working state, and participation in activities of former employing units (these activities often include all kinds of parties for festivals, meetings and recreations arranged by former employing units). Ultimately, 22,019 city retirees ranging in age from 50 to 99 (M = 69.7, SD = 8.1) completed the questionnaires. Results indicated that retirees tend to report positive subjective well-being; the effects of social participation, excluding work state, on subjective well-being were significant. That is, individuals with more frequent participation in social activities, more active roles in social activities, and more frequent participation in activities of former employing units reported higher subjective well-being, even when controlling for the roles of physical health, income, and other socio-demographic variables. Physical health and income were two robust factors in predicting subjective well-being in analysis models. The effects of other socio-demographic variables were also analyzed. The current study provides further empirical support for the role of social participation in quality of life of the elderly.

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Acknowledgments

This study was supported by National Science Foundation of China (No. 71273255), National Key Basic Research Program of China (2014CB744600), the Open Research Fund of the Key Laboratory of Mental Health, Institute of Psychology, Chinese Academy of Sciences (113000C136), and Science Development Fund from the Institute of Psychology, Chinese Academy of Sciences (Y0CX441S01). We would like to thank Jianguo Sun and Chenghui Xue for helpful advice in study design and collecting data.

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Correspondence to Zhen Zhang.

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Zhang, Z., Zhang, J. Social Participation and Subjective Well-Being Among Retirees in China. Soc Indic Res 123, 143–160 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11205-014-0728-1

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Keywords

  • Chinese retirees
  • Social participation
  • Subjective well-being
  • Physical health
  • Income