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Homeownership, Depression, and Life Satisfaction in China: The Gender and Urban-Rural Disparities

Bo Kyong Seo (), In Hyee Hwang, Yi Sun and Juan Chen
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Bo Kyong Seo: Department of Applied Social Sciences, Centre for Social Policy and Social Entrepreneurship, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong, China
In Hyee Hwang: Department of Political Science, Sogang University, Seoul 04107, Korea
Yi Sun: Department of Building and Real Estate, Research Institute for Land and Space, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong, China
Juan Chen: Department of Applied Social Sciences, Mental Health Research Centre, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong, China

IJERPH, 2022, vol. 19, issue 22, 1-13

Abstract: This study examines how depression and life satisfaction are associated with assets in the form of homeownership in China and whether their relationships differ between men and women, and between urban and rural areas. While the psychological benefits of homeownership are well-documented, how gender makes a difference in this relationship remains unclear. Given the dynamic housing market conditions characterized by the urban-rural divide and the notable gender gap in psychological well-being, China can provide a relevant context to address this knowledge gap. A series of linear regression analyses based on the China Family Panel Studies (CFPS) data show that homeownership is positively associated with life satisfaction and negatively related to depression, and this relationship is driven by men. While the homeownership-life satisfaction relation does not differ between urban and rural areas, the negative association between homeownership and depression is seen only among rural residents. The gender difference could be explained by the salient role of the financial security obtained from homeownership, whereas the regional difference seems to be supported by the social comparison theory. This study contributes to the knowledge of how a biological determinant, i.e., gender, interacts with a social determinant, i.e., homeownership, to affect psychological well-being.

Keywords: homeownership; depressive symptoms; life satisfaction; China; regional gap; gender difference (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: I I1 I3 Q Q5 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2022
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