Use It or Lose It? the Impact of Grandchild-Caring on Grandparents' Cognitive Functioning in Rural China

Wednesday, July 16, 2014: 11:54 AM
Room: Booth 40
Distributed Paper
Lu SONG , Soochow University, China
Liang LI , Soochow University, Suzhou, Jiangsu, China
Using the data from the waves of the survey “Well-being of Elderly in Anhui Province, China” conducted in 2001, 2003, 2006, 2009 and 2012 respectively, this study examines the impact of grandchild-caring on Chinese rural grandparents’ cognitive functioning through constructing multi-level growth curve model. The results show that, comparing to the low intensity care for grandchildren, high intensity care has protective effect for the grandparents’ cognitive aging, however, the effects of high intensity care depend on the age and gender of grandparents. The grandfathers’ cognitive aging are protected by the high intensity care for grandchildren, while the cognitive functioning of grandmothers are suffered from intensive care; and this gender difference tends to be widened as aging. These results support the hypothesis of “use-it-or-lose-it”, and imply the significance of gender roles and norms in the Chinese rural families.