Title: The influence of cultural values on public attitudes about responsibility and preferences for elderly care arrangements


Theme: 6. Well-being in social and societal context

Internal or external? Internal

Own data collection or existing data? Both options are possible depending on the interest of the student

Type of research: Quantitative or literature review


Like the rest of the European countries, Netherlands is currently facing an institutional care challenge in the increasingly ageing population. In 2010, 16% of the Dutch population were aged 65 years or older, and this percentage is expected to reach 26% by the year 2035 (Statistics Netherlands, 2010). This brings a growing demand for institutional facilities to assist the older persons that may need care. But, the quality of residential and nursing home elderly care is decreasing as the government funds are limited. This means greater number of families will need to provide home care for their elders, instead of putting them into nursing homes. Given these trends, understanding the organizing principles and values that shape family’s responses to elderly care needs is of fundamental importance.

Among many other factors (e.g., health condition of the older person, availability of substitutes for care), particularly, culture has a meaningful role in shaping people’s decisions about care for their elderly family members. The aim of this project is to explore the extent to which cultural factors may influence public attitudes about responsibility and preferences for elderly care arrangements.

Possible research questions are: What are public attitudes about responsibility to care for older adults? Are such responsibilities individual, family, friends, community, or governmental duty? How do cultural values (individualism, collectivism, honour, filial piety, etc.) influence attitudes about responsibility and support for policies on elderly care beyond fundamental moral values and political ideologies? Are there any differences based on demographic characteristics (age, gender, nationality, ethnic background, etc.)?

Suggested reading:

Santoro, M. S., Van Liew, C., Holloway, B., McKinnon, S., Little, T., & Cronan, T. A. (2016). Honor thy parents: an ethnic multigroup analysis of filial responsibility, health perceptions, and caregiving decisions. Research on Aging38, 665-688.

Pyke, K. D., & Bengtson, V. L. (1996). Caring more or less: Individualistic and collectivist systems of family eldercare. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 379-392.

Killian, T., & Ganong, L. H. (2002). Ideology, context, and obligations to assist older persons. Journal of Marriage and Family, 64, 1080-1088.

Cheung, C. K., Kwan, A. Y. H., & Ng, S. H. (2006). Impacts of filial piety on preference for kinship versus public care. Journal of Community Psychology, 34, 617-634.

Gentili, E., Masiero, G., & Mazzonna, F. (2016). The role of culture in long-term care. Università della Svizzera Italiana.

Smits, C. H., van den Beld, H. K., Aartsen, M. J., & Schroots, J. J. (2014). Aging in the Netherlands: State of the art and science. The Gerontologist, 54(3), 335-343.

Dykstra, P. A., & Fokkema, T. (2012). Norms of filial obligation in the Netherlands. Population, 67, 97-122.

Parveen, S., & Morrison, V. (2009). Predictors of familism in the caregiver role: A pilot study. Journal of Health Psychology, 14, 1135-1143.