Social contact, socioeconomic status, and the health status of older Malaysians

Z. Helen Wu, Laura Rudkin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


We tested the applicability of the stress buffering hypothesis in a developing country setting with data from the Senior Sample of the Malaysian Family Life Survey-2. Using ordered logistic regression methods, we examined whether having daily contact with adult children moderates the effect of low socioeconomic status (SES; conceptualized as a chronic stressor) on self- assessed health status. We found that low SES is associated with poorer health for all three ethnic groups - Malay, Chinese, and Indian. Further, for Malays and Chinese, we found that the negative effects of low SES on health tend to be stronger for older people with less frequent contact with adult children than for those who have daily contact. These results provide general support for the buffering model and suggest that, as found in developed countries, active intergenerational relationships in developing country settings may have protective effects on the health of older people experiencing chronic stressors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)228-234
Number of pages7
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • Chronic stressor
  • Intergenerational relations
  • Social support

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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