Research shows an older adult’s education is strongly associated with mortality. But in societies such as Taiwan, where families are highly integrated, the education of family members may be linked to survival. Such may be the case in settings where there are large gaps in levels of education across generations and high levels of resource transfers between family members. This Population Council study employs 14 years of longitudinal data from Taiwan to examine the combined effects of education of older adults and their adult children on mortality outcomes of older adults. Results indicate that educational levels of both parent and child are associated with older adult mortality, but the child’s education is more important when a) controlling for the health of the older adult, and b) when examining only those older adults who already report a serious chronic condition, suggesting different roles for education in onset versus progression of a health disorder that may lead to death.
Zimmer, Zachary, Linda G. Martin, Mary Beth Ofstedal, and Yi-Li Chuang. 2005. "Education of adult children and mortality of their elderly parents in Taiwan," Policy Research Division Working Paper no. 199. New York: Population Council.