Despite a maturing literature on the association between subjective wellbeing (SWB) and mental condition, little is known regarding the happiness–physical health relation in China, among middle-aged and elderly women (MAEW) in particular. This study aimed to understand the effect of physical health on the SWB of MAEW in China.
Data from the 2014 and 2018 China Family Panel Study were used to analyse the SWB of women over the age of 45 years. In addition, descriptive statistics was used to describe the population distribution and panel ordered logit regression for regression analysis.
Majority of the respondents reported satisfactory SWB, and the proportion of the respondents who were very happy and happy was more than 68%. In terms of health factors, self-rated health, 2-week morbidity and BMI were significantly related to the SWB of MAEW (all P-values < 0.05). Physical exercise ( P-value < 0.01) was positively associated with SWB, whereas smoking status and drinking status were not related to SWB. In addition, demographic indicators, such as registered residence ( P-value < 0.01), income ( P-value < 0.01) and social status ( P-value < 0.01), significantly affected the SWB of MAEW.
This study showed that MAEW’s physical health could affect their SWB. Increased attention should be paid to the physical health of MAEW to improve their SWB. Policy mechanisms could be designed to motivate MAEW to take the initiative to engage in regular physical activity to improve their SWB. In addition, increased attention be paid to groups with low socioeconomic status and high stress, especially those who are employed, to improve residents’ happiness.