2017 Volume 13 Pages 46-62
As the elderly population in China is expected to rise to 300 million by 2025, the life satisfaction of the elderly is of great interest among Chinese researchers. This study tries to examine whether the social capital of the elderly has effects on their life satisfaction, and, if it has, which components of social capital between the structural component and the cognitive component have more effects on the elderly in Chengdu, China. The results of multiple regression analysis on the life satisfaction of the elderly show that only the health status of the elderly is statistically significant. On the contrary, social capital has several statistically significant factors on their life satisfaction. Among the structural component of social capital, informal participation, formal participation, and formal social networks are statistically significant on the life satisfaction of the elderly. Among the cognitive factors of the social capital, norms of reciprocity and interpersonal trust are statistically significant factors. The cognitive component factors may not be easily changed by social interventions such as social services. In other words, providing social services would not improve the elderly's levels of norms of reciprocity or interpersonal trust since these factors are cognitive. On the contrary, the structural component factors of social capital could be improved by social service programs. Therefore, the government and the society need to provide various social service programs to improve participation levels of the Chinese elderly.