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Studying Living Arrangements of the Elderly: Lessons from a Quasi-Qualitative Case Study Approach in Thailand

Publication Abstract

Knodel, John E., and Chanpen Saengtienchai. 1999. "Studying Living Arrangements of the Elderly: Lessons from a Quasi-Qualitative Case Study Approach in Thailand." Journal of Cross-Cultural Gerontology, 14(3): 197-220.

The present study explores aspects of living arrangements of the elderly in Thailand and how they relate to intergenerational support exchanges as revealed by a quasi-qualitative case study approach. The study describes some of the challenges this topic poses for measurement if surveys are used. These include difficulties in appropriately defining a household and identifying its members, treating coresidence as a continuum, taking account of the complex links to non-coresident children and kin, recognizing that similar living arrangements can have different meanings, viewing living arrangements as part of an evolving process, and recognizing the potential sensitivity of the topic to respondents. Careful and informed design of survey questionnaires can increase their ability to accurately reflect the underlying complex reality. However, there are also relevant critical issues for which surveys are not well suited. Although the study is specific to Thailand, many of the same issues are likely to arise in the research on elderly elsewhere as well.

Keywords:
, Thailand, Elderly, Living arrangements, Intergenerational exchanges, Househould structure, Informal support

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