LOS ANGELES, July 25 (UPI) -- U.S. researchers say aid from their daughters-in-law -- rather than their own children -- helped reduce depression experienced by elderly rural Chinese.
In what the researchers call a new twist on the Confucian ideal of filial piety, the study, published in the Journal of Marriage and Family, found assistance from their own children actually increased depression among some older people in rural China.
University of Southern California, Davis researchers Zhen Cong and Merril Silverstein studied seniors in rural Anhui province, where rates of depression among the elderly are twice that of their urban counterparts -- although still much lower than in the West. They found "instrumental support" -- such as personal care and household chores -- had a positive effect on well-being, depending on who provided the service.
When women share a home with their in-laws, their presence and support is particularly beneficial to the psychological well-being of older mothers. Those with an increase in household support from their own daughters had more depressive symptoms, the researchers said.
However, household support and personal care from sons was particularly damaging and increased depressive symptoms, the study found.