Hukou Status and Cognitive Function Among Older Chinese Adults: Does Support from Friends Matter?

Changmin Peng, Jeffrey A. Burr, Bei Wu, Mengting Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: This study examined whether older Chinese adults with different types of hukou status (government household registration system) exhibited different cognitive outcomes and whether receiving support from friends, an under-appreciated resource, helped mitigate the negative impacts of agricultural hukou status on cognitive health disparities. Methods: Using nationally representative data from the China Longitudinal Aging Social Survey, this study tested these relationships with well-validated measures. Results: Our results showed that older Chinese adults with agricultural hukou were more likely to have worse cognitive function than those with non-agricultural hukou. Further, friend support characteristics moderated the association between hukou status and cognitive function, whereby having better friend support was related to a weaker negative effect of agricultural hukou status on cognitive function. Discussion: The findings suggested that agricultural hukou status reflects the effects of accumulated disadvantage across the life course with negative consequences for late-life cognition. The cognitive health disparities between agricultural and non-agricultural residents may be reduced in the context of a higher level of friend support, supporting a stress buffering hypothesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Aging and Health
StateAccepted/In press - 2023


  • China longitudinal aging social survey
  • agricultural hukou
  • friend support
  • health disparities
  • social class
  • stratification

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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