The Role of Attitude Towards Urban Minimum Livelihood Guarantee Scheme in Life Satisfaction of Poor Older People in China: Will Gender Make a Difference?
Monday, June 13, 2016
Clement House, Ground Floor, Hong Kong Theatre (London School of Economics)
*Names in bold indicate Presenter
Purpose: Boosting of life satisfaction in later life has long been a policy and practice challenge. This study examined the possible impacts of poor older people’s attitude towards urban Minimum Livelihood Guarantee Scheme on their life satisfaction, and investigated the gender differences in the influencing factors of life satisfaction. Design and Methods: Based on data from “An Evaluation Project on Urban Minimum Livelihood Guarantee Project in China”, older people who were receiving subsidies from MLG and aged 60 or older, were included in this study (N=250). Both quantitative and qualitative research methods were adopted to explore the relationship between personal attitude towards MLG and their life satisfaction. Attitude towards MLG was measured by several variables, including attitude towards the whole MLG scheme, attitude towards MLG workers, attitude towards the policy of public notice, and attitude towards means test. Descriptive statistical analysis was first performed to examine the characteristics of the respondent. Bivariate correlations were conducted between potential factors and life satisfaction. Hierarchical regression analysis was conducted to explore the influencing factors of life satisfaction. After controlling certain socio-demographic characteristics, health and self-care ability variables, the role of personal attitude towards MLG on life satisfaction was further discussed. Quantitative in-depth interviews were also used to investigate the relationship between poor older people’s personal attitude and their life satisfaction. Results: Findings of this study show that poor older people’s attitude towards MLG is the potent predictor of their life satisfaction after controlling for certain socio-demographic characteristics, health and self-care ability variables; while older men and women differ in the sources of life satisfaction. Implications: There should be an improved awareness among policymakers and about the impacts of personal attitude towards MLG on poor older people’s life satisfaction. Effective public education and programs should be developed to provide opportunities for poor older people to empower themselves, and to identify and explore positive aspects of themselves and the aging process. Public education should also be provided to the public to avoid stigma and discriminant. Efforts to enhance life satisfaction of older people should focus more on policy, service and program development to improve the professional quality of MLG workers. Policymakers and researchers should be more sensitive to gender differences in the sources of later life satisfaction, and be mindful of the broader social structures and cultural context in which such differences have been shaped.