Exploring happiness : the life course study of older Shanghainese women in Shanghai and Hong Kong

  • Archibald Malcolm WANG

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis (Lingnan)


The main concern of this study is to investigate the effect of life course experience on the level of happiness among older women. To assess various independent variables of happiness. The paper analyzed the heterogeneous effect of older people's happiness through the SIT and SET theories from the Life Course Model. The importance of life course narration also concerns their backgrounds and personal experiences. Regarding the applied method, this research elected comparative studies and narrative analysis for fieldwork. The author collected primary data to assess the effects of happiness by two surveys, including 1000 women, to test the tandem studies of Study One (Shanghai cohort) and Study Two (Hong Kong cohort): 500/study. For data analysis, the research adopted a comparative, cross-sectional design with a random sampling method and used them for logistic regression.

The realization of perceived stress and self-assessment tools are also crucial for happiness assessment. Because the data encapsulated information on various socio-economic and health aspects of individuals among Shanghainese women aged 50+ from two modern cities, their narratives captured the nuance of women's development and background characteristics.

The research finding of this study can conclude as follow. Firstly, women from Study 1 are more apprehensive of family matters such as spouse quality than pathological influences such as illness. Secondly, women from Study 2 indicate different stress factors of social environment are significant to happiness. Thirdly, the data analysis discloses that older women from cross-cultural backgrounds are generally happier than those who are not. Fourthly, the study provides new evidence to explore the relationship between life partners (spouse quality) that can benefit women's wellness. Whereas the rising senior population, women with health issues or physical limitations can cause difficulties in traveling, limiting their happiness and autonomy to visit friends and family.

The significance suggests that spouse and partner dependency is essential to older people's mental, physical, and spiritual wellness. Because their daily activities' measurement is by their bodily autonomy to quality of life, thus recommending quality enhancement with assistive technology to counter the environment is designed where health and dignity gauge the age of the elderly. Moreover, addressing the challenges of aging and health inequality is an arduous process, but it is also necessary. Therefore, failure to take measures on assistive living may result in unfavorable outcomes for the aging population and affect the socio-economic benefits.
Date of Award31 Mar 2023
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Lingnan University
SupervisorKa LIN (Supervisor)

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