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Dr Patricia O'Neill



DPhil (oxf)

Juris Doctor (Law)

Master of Science, Gerontology

Master of Arts, History

Master of Science, Education

Secondary Teaching Credential

Bachelor of Arts, History

Thesis Research

Thesis: Chinese Daughters Negotiating Contemporary Norms and Traditional Filial Obligation

Supervisor: Prof. Sarah Harper

Increased longevity and low fertility across Asia are resulting in aging populations with growing numbers of vulnerable elders. Concurrently, Asian culture has changed. Chinese daughters, who traditionally stayed at home to care for ageing parents and in-laws are today well educated, employed, and self-sufficient. They may be unavailable or unwilling to carry out filial duties in the same way they did in the past. The purpose of this research is to investigate how the lives, attitudes and values of Chinese daughters have changed, what this means for the care and well being of their ageing parents and in-laws, and what influences drive modern Chinese women to act as they do.

Other experiences

  • Associate in Research (current), Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies, Harvard University
  • Academic Affiliate (current), Contemporary China Studies, School of Interdisciplinary Studies, University of Oxford
  • Attorney at Law: Member of California Bar
  • Los Angeles County Elder Abuse Forensic Center (Team member)
  • Teaching Assistant, University of Southern California
  • Research Assistant, University of Southern California
  • Research Assistant, Oxford University, Institute of Ageing
  • History teacher (secondary level)

Publications and presentations


  • O’Neill, P. (2018) URBAN CHINESE DAUGHTERS: Navigating new roles, status and filial obligation in a transitioning culture. St. Antony's Series, Palgrave Macmillan.
  • O’Neill, P. (2016) Intergenerational Gatherings Among the Water and Willows (2016). In M. Kaplan, L.L. Thang, M. Sanchez & Hoffman, J., (Eds.) Intergenerational Contact Zones-A Compendium of Applications. Penn State Intergenerational Program.
  • O’Neill, P. (2015) Forward to the Colour Report: An insight into what retirement really looks like in the 21st Century. McCarthy & Stone. Dorset, UK.
  • O’Neill, P. (2013). Review of H. Yallop: Age and Identity in Eighteenth-Century England. Ageing and Society, 33, pp 1471-1472 doi:10.1017/ S0144686X13000536.
  • O’Neill, P., Birren, J.E., Svensson, C. (2010) Narrative and Gender Differences:  How Men and Women Interpret Their Lives. In G. Kenyon, E. Bohlmeijer, & W. Randall, (Eds.), Storying Later Life: Issues, Investigations and Interventions in Narrative Gerontology. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Conference presentations

  • Oxford Institute of Population Ageing invited guest lecturer (2016): What is the Future for Women and Caregiving in China?
  •  Southeast Asian Studies Symposium invited guest lecturer (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 2015): Neoliberal Governmentality, Confucianism And Old Age In Singapore
  • US-Hong Kong Conference: Putting Aging Research and Clinical Practice in Cultural Context (2015) Abstract accepted for oral presentation: Implicating Self-Image in Chinese Daughters’ Caregiving of Ageing Parents
  • International Conference on Aging and Public Policy- Health Care, Urbanization and the Environment; invited member of official Gerontological Society of America delegation (Hangzhou, PRC, 2014): Will China’s reforms be able to solve its ageing problems?
  • XVIII ISA World Congress of Sociology (Yokohama, Japan: 2014): Inequality and Emotion Management in Parental Caregiving By Chinese Daughters
  • University of Oxford International Gender Studies invited guest lecturer Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford (Trinity, 2014) Chinese Women Negotiating Family Norms and the Modern world: Implications for Ageing Parents
  • International Gender and Migration Conference (2013) Chinese University of Hong Kong: Foreign Domestic Workers As Surrogate Caregivers In Hong Kong And Singapore: What this can tell us about future family intergenerational relationships
  • British Gerontological Association Annual Conference (2013): Chinese Daughters’ Employment Of Foreign Helpers As Surrogate Caregivers For Ageing Parents: Implications for parent-daughter relationships
  • International Association of Gerontology and Geriatrics 20th World Congress (Seoul, South Korea, 2013): Why would filial obligation remain a strong normative value among modern Chinese women?
  • Third International Gerontology Colloquium (2012): Chinese Women Negotiating Traditional Family Norms and the Modern World; Implications for Ageing Parents
  • Gerontological Society of America Annual Conference (2012): Chinese Daughters’ Employment Of Foreign Helpers As Surrogate Caregivers For Ageing Parents: Fulfilment of filial obligation or harbinger of elder neglect?
  • Hong Kong Polytechnic University, invited guest speaker (March 2012); Pet Therapy
  • Oxford Institute of Population Ageing, Michaelmas Term Seminar Series: Chinese Women Negotiating Traditional Family Norms and the Modern World; Implications for Ageing Parents
  • British Gerontological Association Annual Conference (2012); The New Filial Piety: Implications for Chinese daughters and elderly parents
  • British Sociological Association Annual Conference (2012); Adult Chinese daughters and emotion control: A useful tool for managing stressful interactions with ageing parents and in-laws or a harbinger of elder abuse?
  • Eighth World Conference on Long Term Care in Chinese Communities and Asian
  • Ageing Development Conference (Hong Kong, 2011); Modern Chinese daughters and long-term care: Will financial independence and greater choice equate to diminished care of elderly parents?
  • Oxford Institute of Population Ageing Conference, Changing Intergenerational Relationships as Europe & Asia Age, (2010); The Changing Roles and Status of Chinese Women: Implications for Elder Abuse
  • International Reminiscence & Life Review Conference, (2009); Gender Differences Reflected In Autobiographical Narrative:How men and women interpret their lives
  • Oxford Post Graduate Conference on Ageing Studies, (2009): What Guided Autobiography Can Tell Us About Gender Differences
  • Gerontological Society of America, (2007); Pilot Study To Explore The Legal Needs Of Ethnically Diverse Older Adults In Los Angeles County