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Family structure and support for the oldest old: A cross-sectional study in Dujiangyan, China
  1. Xiaohui Ren1,
  2. Hongdao Meng2,
  3. Chaojie Liu3,4,
  4. Jinhui Wu5,
  5. Birong Dong5 and
  6. Ningxiu Li1
  1. 1.Department of Health and Social Behavior, West China School of Public Health, Sichuan University, Sichuan, China
  2. 2.School of Aging Studies, University of South Florida, FL, USA
  3. 3.School of Public Health, La Trobe University, Bundoora, VIC, Australia
  4. 4.School of Health Management, Hubei University of Chinese Medicine, Hubei, China
  5. 5.Department of Geriatrics, West China Hospital, Sichuan University, Sichuan, China
  1. Corresponding Author: Ningxiu Li, MD Department of Health and Social Behavior, West China School of Public Health, Sichuan University, No. 16, Section 3, Renmin South Road, Chengdu, Sichuan 610041, China Tel.: +86-28-5501646 E-mail: liningxiu{at}


Objective In China, adult children have traditionally provided support for their aged parents. This model of care is increasingly challenged by the decline of the extended family. Recently, China’s decades-long one-child policy has eased. We examine the association of family size and composition with family support for nonagenarians and centenarians.

Methods Data were obtained through a questionnaire survey of 619 nonagenarians and centenarians in Dujiangyan and were analyzed by chi-square tests, Student t tests, and multivariate logistic regression models.

Results This study revealed that an increased number of offspring might provide financial support for older people, but this does not necessarily translate into physical and emotional care.

Conclusion It is clear that although alternative sources of support for older people are increasingly needed, in China the family will continue to play an important role in supporting older people.

  • Oldest old
  • family support
  • family structure
  • China

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Unported License (CC BY-NC 4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. See

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