174185 Are daughters a better investment: Gender differences in the impact of children's education on the health of elderly parents in rural Bangladesh

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Rubayat Khan , Department of Population-Environment, Independent University, Bangladesh, Dhaka, Bangladesh
Mohammed Omar Rahman, MD, MPH, DSc , MPH program, Independent University, Bangladesh, Dhaka, Bangladesh
Abul Kalam Azad, MPH , School of Environmental Sciences and Management, Independent University, Bangladesh, Dhaka, Bangladesh
Evidence suggests that children are crucial sources of support for the elderly in developing countries. However, the mechanisms through which children impact their parents' old-age health remains relatively ambiguous. In this paper, the 60+ population (n=1733) from the Matlab Health and Socioeconomic Survey (MHSS) conducted in rural Bangladesh have been examined to assess the impact of quality of children (characterized by their level of education) on the health of elderly parents. Logit models have been used to test whether the level of education of the highest educated children affects the self-reported health of their parents, and if any gender differences exist. The major finding is that educated daughters seem to be strongly associated (OR = 3.06, CI: [1.78, 5.24]) with a significant improvement in the health of elderly mothers (but not fathers), even after controlling for a variety of socio-economic and individual factors. Surprisingly, educated sons, on the other hand, seem to have no such impact (OR = 0.92, CI: [0.52, 1.63]), apparently contradicting traditional beliefs about sons being the main sources of support for the elderly in patrilineal societies. This paper attempts to explain these findings through gender differences in filial roles, mobility and behavior patterns, and complex parent-child interactions.

Learning Objectives:
1. Evaluate the impact of children's educational status on the self-reported health of 60+ parents in rural Bangladesh 2. Assess the differential impact of gender in the impact of educated sons vs. educated daughters on fathers vs. mothers 3. Assess the possible mechanisms through which any impact is taking place 4. Discuss the policy implications for enhancing old-age security for the elderly.

Keywords: Elderly, Children

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been intimately involved in all aspects of this poster presentation including the writing and the analysis
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.