Health differences among South Asian and Chinese older adults in Hong Kong: The role of social capital

Project: Research project

Project Details


Ethnic minority older adults are often an ‘invisible’ group due to a lack of attention to their unique needs, linked to systemic inequities and barriers in health and social care systems, and assumptions that they are cared for by families or will return to their home country as they age. Studies in Hong Kong have identified disparities in health outcomes and access to health information and health services in ethnic minority communities.

Health and wellbeing are affected by numerous factors, including social capital. Knowledge on these correlates of health can inform the development of services and policies to reduce health disparities and promote more equitable health outcomes. South Asians are one of the largest ethnic minority populations in Hong Kong. This study seeks to identify differences in health and wellbeing and social capital within and between South Asian and Chinese older adult populations. A hypothesized conceptual framework that outlines the associations between ethnic minority status, social capital and health and wellbeing along psychosocial and material pathways will guide this study. Data collection will involve a quantitative questionnaire survey with 210 South Asian adults (including Indians, Pakistanis, and Nepalese) and 210 local Chinese adults aged 55 years and older. Qualitative in-depth narrative interviews will be conducted with 45 South Asian older adults, 45 Chinese older adults, and 15 service providers, to contextualize and triangulate the quantitative findings. Purposive samples will be recruited in five District Council areas with assistance from collaborating agencies and local NGOs.

The study results will help to identify the types of social capital assets that should be targeted in developing effective community health and support programs for ethnic minority older adults in Hong Kong. A better understanding of social capital and health and wellbeing disparities among South Asian and Chinese older adults can allow community support and allied health professionals to design interventions to address and reduce these disparities. This study will lay the foundation for future research with larger samples of older ethnic minority groups in Hong Kong, building a knowledge base for the development of culturally sensitive and equitable community health and social care strategies and services.
Effective start/end date1/01/2130/06/24


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