Respect for the elderly in Asia: stability and change

Int J Aging Hum Dev. 1999;48(2):113-30. doi: 10.2190/G1XR-QDCV-JRNM-585P.


This study analyzes data from seventy-nine focus groups conducted in the Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, and Thailand. The research examined ways in which respect for the elderly is experienced in these four countries, the extent to which respect has changed over time, and the reasons for changes in respect for the elderly. Using qualitative analysis, five distinct dimensions of respect were identified: gestures and manners, tokens, customs and rituals, asking for advice, and obedience. Focus group discussions indicated that changes have occurred on most of these dimensions of respect. The changes were attributed to variations in family structure and function, education, income, and modernization. These findings are discussed in relation to changing definitions of respect and variations in the way in which respect for the elderly is expressed in Asia.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Asia
  • Attitude*
  • Culture
  • Female
  • Focus Groups
  • Gestures
  • Humans
  • Intergenerational Relations*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged