Relationship with others and life satisfaction in later life : do gender and widowhood make a difference?

Sheung Tak CHENG, Cheung Ming, Alfred CHAN

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

95 Citations (Scopus)


In this study we investigated whether social relationship is a stronger determinant of life satisfaction in older women than in older men, and whether this is more obvious in widowed than in married persons, in a representative sample of Chinese individuals aged 60 or older in Hong Kong (N = 1,616). We tested the moderating effect of gender and widowhood by means of a multigroup analysis in structural equation modeling that incorporated other major predictors of life satisfaction. Consistent with predictions, relatedness was much more important for women than for men. Furthermore, relatedness was the most important determinant of life satisfaction in women, regardless of marital status, but it was only a moderate predictor in married men, and even an irrelevant factor in widowers. We discuss the results in terms of how gender roles shape relationship goals, and thus how men and women evaluate life satisfaction differently in the context of relationship with others.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)46-53
Number of pages8
JournalJournals of Gerontology. Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2006


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