IMR Press / JOMH / Volume 18 / Issue 8 / DOI: 10.31083/j.jomh1808163
Open Access Original Research
Health of Widowed Elderly and Related Factors in China
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1 College of Life Science, Xinyang Normal University, 464000 Xinyang, Henan, China
2 School of Marxism, Xinyang Normal University, 464000 Xinyang, Henan, China
*Correspondence: tianhua@xynu.edu.cn (Hua Tian)
J. Mens. Health 2022, 18(8), 163; https://doi.org/10.31083/j.jomh1808163
Submitted: 3 May 2022 | Revised: 19 May 2022 | Accepted: 20 June 2022 | Published: 25 July 2022
Copyright: © 2022 The Author(s). Published by IMR Press.
This is an open access article under the CC BY 4.0 license.
Abstract

Background: The widowed elderly are in poor health, but studies mainly focus on their mental health, physiological response, chronic disease, or death. The aim of this study was to investigate the health of the widowed elderly and related factors in China from the three dimensions of self-reported health, objective physical health and mental health. Methods: Data were obtained from the Chinese Longitudinal Health Longevity Survey (CLHLS-2018). 3320 participants aged 65 years and older were selected, included 1573 widowed elderly and 1747 non-widowed elderly. A simplified version of the center for epidemiological research depression scale (CES-D-10) was used to assess depressive symptoms. The differences of depression and chronic diseases between widows and widowers were tested by independent sample t-test. A fully aligned polygonal graphical indexing method and binary logistic regression analysis were used to explore health and related factors of the widowed elderly. Results: Of the 1573 widowed elderly 70.88% were female, 59.19% were aged 80–99, 48.00% and 36.75% were from rural and urban areas respectively, and 92.05% lived with their families. Depressive symptoms were found in 20.15% of widowers and 49.33% of widows, and 60.26% of widowers and 64.75% of widows had more than one chronic disease. Statistically significant differences were found between widowers and widows in the above two. Self-reported health and mental health were slightly better than that of non-widowed elderly, with the exception of objective physical health. The variables of life restriction, physical exercise, life satisfaction and depressive symptoms were significant factors that influenced the widowed elderly health. Conclusions: Strengthening the monitoring and management of negative emotions and physiological functions of the widowed elderly, improving their awareness of physical and mental health and then promoting communication were found to be effective intervention measures.

Keywords
widowed elderly
self-reported health
objective physical health
mental health
China
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