Attitudes to ageing and expectations for filial piety across Chinese and British cultures: A pilot exploratory evaluation

Kenneth Laidlaw, Dahua Wang, Claudia Coelho, Mick Power

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Introduction: Filial piety (FP) is a central theme in Asian culture and is seen as care for one's parents as part of a traditional concept of Confucianism. Older people may hold strong expectations for FP from their children. Attitudes towards the experience of ageing may be influenced by how far one perceives their expectations to be met.

Method: A cross-sectional evaluation of expectation for FP and attitudes to ageing was undertaken in three different cultural groups–elderly Chinese immigrants living in the UK, Chinese older people living in Beijing and Scottish older people living in Scotland.

Results: There were significant differences between the three cultural groups on a standardized measure of attitudes to ageing on psychosocial loss, F(2, 127) = 28.20, p = 0.0005 and physical change, F(2, 127) = 67.60, p = 0.0005 domains of attitudes to ageing. With expectations for FP, the UK-born participants evidenced lower expectations than the two Chinese groups, who were very similar in their levels of expectation, F(2, 127) = 10.92, p = 0.0005.

Conclusions: The study was the first of its kind to consider attitudes to ageing and expectations for FP across three cultural groups. Overall an interesting pattern of results emerged suggesting that both Chinese groups remain invested in the concept of FP, whereas the UK sample was not. In contrast, however, the Chinese immigrants and the UK participants were more similar in reporting attitudes to ageing than the Chinese participants who were more likely to endorse a loss-deficit view of ageing.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)283-292
Number of pages10
JournalAging & Mental Health
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2010


  • filial piety
  • attitudes to ageing
  • ageing
  • culture
  • Confucianism

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