Cover: Late-Life Depression among Rural Women in China

Late-Life Depression among Rural Women in China

Exploring the Role of Education and Other Risk Factors

Published Mar 27, 2024

by Lynn Hu

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Late-life depression poses a significant concern in China, particularly among older rural women who experience higher prevalence rates and heightened risk. This dissertation investigates the factors influencing late-life depression in this specific high-risk demographic. The first essay identifies early life factors and adult physical health as prominent predictors of late-life depression among rural Chinese women using machine learning models. The second essay explores a relationship between education and depression among middle-aged and elderly rural Chinese women, revealing a negative education gradient in late-life depression. The third essay employs a Fuzzy Regression Discontinuity Design to assess the long-term impact of improved educational attainment on late-life depression, finding that increased schooling years lack an evident protective effect on late-life depression among the overall rural women population.

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This document was submitted as a dissertation in December 2023 in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the doctoral degree in Public Policy Analysis at the Pardee RAND Graduate School. The faculty committee that supervised and approved the dissertation consisted of Tadeja Gracner (chair), Jennifer Bouey, Lisa Meredith, and Huiqiong Duan (outside reader).

This publication is part of the RAND dissertation series. Pardee RAND dissertations are produced by graduate fellows of the Pardee RAND Graduate School, the world's leading producer of Ph.D.'s in policy analysis. The dissertations are supervised, reviewed, and approved by a Pardee RAND faculty committee overseeing each dissertation.

RAND is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.