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Psychological well-being of older Chinese immigrants living in Australia: a comparison with older Caucasians

  • Xiaoping Lin (a1), Christina Bryant (a2) (a3), Jennifer Boldero (a2) and Briony Dow (a1) (a4)

Abstract

Background:

Few current studies explore psychological well-being among older Chinese immigrants in Australia. The study addressed this gap and provided preliminary data on psychological well-being among this group. Four indicators, namely depression, anxiety, loneliness, and quality of life, were used to present a comprehensive picture of psychological well-being.

Methods:

Participants were two groups of community-dwelling older people, specifically 59 Chinese immigrants and 60 Australian-born people (median age=77 and 73, respectively). Data were collected through standardized interviews. The Geriatric Depression Scale, the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale, the de Jong Gierveld Loneliness Scale and the WHO Quality of Life questionnaire were used to measure depression, anxiety, loneliness, and quality of life, respectively.

Results:

Chinese participants’ median quality of life score was higher than the scale mid-point, indicating relatively high levels of quality of life. However, 10% exhibited symptoms of depression, 6% had symptoms of anxiety, and 49% felt lonely. Compared to Australian participants, Chinese participants reported poorer quality of life and higher levels of loneliness. Importantly, the difference in quality of life remained when the impact of socio-demographic factors was controlled for.

Conclusions:

This study was the first to use multiple indicators to explore psychological well-being among older Chinese immigrants in Australia. Its results suggest that their psychological well-being might be worse than that of Australian-born people when using loneliness and quality of life as indicators. In particular, loneliness is a common psychological problem among this group, and there is a need for public awareness of this problem.

Copyright

Corresponding author

Correspondence should be addressed to: Dr Xiaoping Lin, Health Promotion Division, National Ageing Research Institute, PO Box 2127, Royal Melbourne Hospital, Victoria 3050, Australia. Phone: (0061 3) 8387 2609; Fax: (0061 3) 9387 4030. Email: x.lin@nari.unimelb.edu.au.

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