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Productive Ageing in China

Lifelong Learning of Older Adults



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Productive Ageing in China by Xinyi Zhao
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This dissertation, "Productive Ageing in China: Lifelong Learning of Older Adults" by Xinyi, Zhao, 趙忻怡, was obtained from The University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong) and is being sold pursuant to Creative Commons: Attribution 3.0 Hong Kong License. The content of this dissertation has not been altered in any way. We have altered the formatting in order to facilitate the ease of printing and reading of the dissertation. All rights not granted by the above license are retained by the author. Abstract: Learning in later life is an indispensable part of lifelong learning and an essential component of productive ageing. Through numerous research studies, the concept of lifelong learning has become widely recognised, and the positive outcomes of productive ageing have been well-documented. However, little is known about the lifelong learning of older adults in China. This research was designed to investigate the learning participation rate by Chinese elders, identify older learners' motivation, and assess the effect of learning on older learners' self-esteem under the framework of productive ageing. Two studies using quantitative methods were conducted to achieve the research objectives. The preliminary study used the data from the China Time Use Survey (CTUS), which was conducted in 2008 and included 13,025 participants aged between 50 and 74. The average participation rate and time in learning activities were calculated, and the influence factors of learning participation were analysed through logistic regression. Based on the results from the preliminary study, the main study focused on older learners at the Universities for the Third Age (U3As) in Changsha City, China, and it contained two sub-studies. The first sub-study was a cross-sectional study conducted in three U3As with 401 valid respondents. Exploratory factor analysis (EFA) was used to identify the learning motivation construct, and the social-demographic correlates with motivation and the relationship between motivation and learning participation level were investigated. In addition, the self-esteem scale SLCS-R Chinese version on older adults was constructed and validated by confirmatory factor analysis (CFA). The second sub-study was a panel study to compare the scores of self-esteem at the beginning and the end of a semester. Data was collected from one U3Awith 188 valid respondents in the first wave and 148 participants successfully traced in the second wave -and analysed with a paired-t test. The findings of the preliminary study revealed that the participation rate in learning by Chinese elders on an average day was only 1%, which was the lowest among five major types of productive activities. The average time use in later-life learning was 142 minutes per day by the learning participants. Age, marital status, urban or rural living, and educational attainment were significantly associated with learning participation. The main study discovered that the learning motivation for elder learners had four components, namely, achievement and fulfilment, intellectual acquisition, facing challenges, and affiliation and escape. Moreover, higher motivation was found to be related to a higher learning participation level. CFA on the Chinese version of SLCS-R showed Chinese elders' self-esteem had three sub-dimensions: positive self-esteem, self-disliking, and self-incompetence. Finally, the results of the panel study revealed that the total score of self-esteem, the score of the positive self-esteem sub-scale, and the reverse-coded score of the self-incompetence sub-scale significantly improved after learning. The findings in this research provide preliminary information for understanding lifelong learning of Chinese older adults as a component of productive ageing. Theoretical and practical implications are interpreted, together with the limitations and recommendations for future studies. DOI: 10.5353/th
Release date NZ
January 27th, 2017
Created by
Country of Publication
United States
colour illustrations
Open Dissertation Press
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