E.U. & U.S. Public Policy Forum
Population, Family and Health: Global Perspectives
The conference on “Population, Family and Health: Global Perspectives” was held in the Institute of European and American Studies, Academia Sinica, on July 18-19, 2018. The first session during the morning of July 18 mainly focused on the transformation of demographic structure. The first paper examined the similarities and differences of post-war demographic transitions between Taiwan and the United States using the Convex Hull Approach. The second paper explored the trend of childlessness and the rapid rise of unmarried population in highly developed countries. The third paper discussed irregular marriages at the English-Scottish border during 1753-1850.
The two sessions in the afternoon of July 18 focused on gender, race and ethnic issues, and the health effects of the socio-economic conditions of individuals and their families, respectively. In the session on gender, race and ethnic issues, two main topics were discussed. The first paper analyzed the impact of discrimination on health through longitudinal research. The second paper explored individual attitudes toward providing public medical insurance for non-citizen immigrants in the United States, Sweden, Germany, Taiwan, and South Korea.
The last session on July 18 focused on the health effects of the socio-economic conditions of individuals and their families. The first paper investigated early adversities and adulthood developmental outcomes. The second paper compared between age-comparable cohort members in Taiwan and the United States using adults and their father’s educational attainments to predict changes of subjective health in later life.
On the following morning of July 19, the focus of the discussions came to the care of the elderly in societies. The first paper talked about how Taiwan and Italy deal with the new global carechain in rapidly aging societies, and if border control should be relaxed to attract more foreign care workers. The second paper explored the similarities among siblings, and the burden siblings who take care of their parents have in their later years. The results of the study confirmed that sibling influences do have an impact on care behavior, and therefore, these findings can be used as an important reference for future research when studying adult children’s caregiving behavior.
The sessions in the afternoon continued to discuss the care of the elderly in societies, specifically concerning the happiness of the elderly. The first paper looked into the differences between Taichung and Honolulu on the impact of nuclear and extended family relationships on subjective well-being in late life. The second paper examined whether good governance enhances older adult’s happiness by testing the cross-level effects of governance in 30 countries on the associations of age and urbanization with happiness. The results of the study demonstrated that older adults in more urbanized countries have a higher level of happiness, which confirmed that good governance does have a positive impact on the elderly’s well-being.
The last session on July 19 mainly focused on issues related to mental health. The first paper explored life stress, formal and informal social capital and their relations to depression among older adults in Europe. The study examined the social capital of the elderly such as friends, family, neighbors, and other social networks, to understand which social capital resources can effectively help and alleviate life stress of the elderly. The second paper explored the current state and trends of mental health disparities by sexual orientation in the United States. The results of the study show that although in the past few decades the U.S. society has greater tolerance toward non-heterosexuals (e.g., the recent nationwide legalization of same-sex marriage), the health status of these non-heterosexuals is still worse than their heterosexual counterparts. This state of health inequality is primarily caused by prejudice, discrimination, or violence that non-heterosexuals have experienced over the course of their lives. Consequently, more effort is needed to address the inequality of these sexual minorities in order to enhance their health and well-being.
During the successful 2-day conference, many scholars have put forth quite original and inspiring views through constructive and in-depth discussions and sharing. The presenters and attendees have all achieved considerable academic satisfaction and personal enjoyment.