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PhD Student

Pei-Chun Ko

Topic of dissertation project:

“Ageing in East Asia and Beyond: Interplay between Social Relationships and Health”

The gist of this cumulative dissertation is to focus on social relationships and the health of seniors in East Asia. Drawing inspiration from the dual goals of “Successful Aging” (Row & Kahn, 1997): my dissertation has two important elements: being free from disease and engagement in social relationships. This concept provides an overall framework for the investigation of kin relationships, such as intergenerational relationships discussed in family research (Bengtson & Lowenstein, 2003; Silverstein & Giarrusso, 2010), as well as those which are non-kin (e.g. volunteering) and their affect on seniors’ social integration in relationship to the field of public health (Berkman, Glass, Brissette, & Seeman, 2000).

The dissertation will be composed of three research papers. By using harmonized ageing datasets in three East Asian countries: China, Japan and South Korea, my research not only compares micro-level differences in one society, but also disentangles the institutional and societal variations among the three countries.

Publications and working paper

Selected publication:  Ko, P. C., and Hank, K. (2013). Grandparents caring for grandchildren in China and Korea: Findings from CHARLS and KLoSA. Journal of Gerontology: Social Sciences, doi: 10.1093/geronb/gbt129

(Submitted) Determinants of Social Activities among Older People in China: An Analysis of Community Factors

(Work in progress) Education-health Gradients among Urban Older People in China, Japan and South Korea

(Work in progress) Community Characteristics, Contexts, and Mental Health among Older Chinese: Evidence from CHARLS

Conference presentation

May, 2014 Determinants of Social Activities among Older People in China: An Analysis of Community Factors, Poster Present in the annual meeting of Population Association of America, Boston, United States.

June, 2013 Grandparents Caring for Grandchildren: Findings from CHARLS and KLoSA, Present in the 20th IAGG World Congress of Gerontology and Geriatrics, Seoul, South Korea.

March, 2013 Intergenerational Support and Health Disparities in China, Japan and South Korea, Present in Demographic and Institutional Change in Global Families, 2013 RC 06 Family Research Seminar of International Sociological Association, Taipei City, Taiwan.

Research interests

Family sociology

Comparative sociology


Social networks and social capital