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Gender Differences in Mental Health of Bereaved Parents in an Only-Child Society: Evidence From China



This study examined gender differences in mental health of bereaved parents related to the gender of deceased only child in China, an only-child society with traditional culture of son preference, using data drawn from the China Family Planning Survey on Vulnerable Households in 2017. The findings indicated that parents with deceased only child suffered from more negative mental health symptoms than nonbereaved parents. For only-child-death families, there were no statistically significant gender differences in mental health of parents, and the gender of the deceased only child was basically unrelated to maternal/paternal mental health. Due to the implementation of one-child policy in China, both sons and daughters are highly prized and equally relied on by aging parents owing to the irreplaceability of the only child, which might moderate the effects of traditional culture of son preference on bereaved parental mental health.