Living Arrangements and Psychological Well-Being of the Older Adults After the Economic Transition in Vietnam

J Gerontol B Psychol Sci Soc Sci. 2015 Nov;70(6):957-68. doi: 10.1093/geronb/gbv059. Epub 2015 Aug 25.


Objectives: We examine the relationship between living arrangements and psychological well-being of the older adults in Vietnam, where there is an influence of Confucian values and a lack of close substitutes for family care of the older adults, by exploiting a great deal of regional variation in economic development. We also examine the role of living arrangements in well-being differentials across regions.

Method: We estimate a triangular simultaneous-equation discrete-response model, which accounts for the simultaneity between living arrangements and psychological well-being (happiness, depression, loneliness, poor appetite, and sleep disorder), using a nationally representative sample of 2,225 adults aged 60 and older drawn from the 2011 Vietnam Aging Survey.

Results: Intergenerational coresidence significantly increases the psychological well-being of the older adults in Vietnam. The results are fairly robust, even after taking quasi-coresidence into account, decomposing the psychological well-being index into each affect and symptom, and splitting the sample by gender.

Discussion: Changes in living arrangements induced by differences in labor market opportunities in neighboring regions have resulted in significant differences in psychological well-being among the older adults. The findings point to the need for attention to the mental health of elderly parents left behind in less economically developed regions.

Keywords: Elderly left behind; Intergenerational coresidence; Internal migration; Psychological well-being.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Economic Development*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Health*
  • Models, Psychological
  • Residence Characteristics*
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Vietnam