Comparison of social determinants of depressive symptoms among elderly Chinese in Guangzhou, Hong Kong, and Taipei

DWL Lai*, HM Tong

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review


Background: Studies comparing the social determinants of depressive symptoms of ageing Chinese subjects in different socio-cultural contexts are limited. To facilitate development of prevention strategies, this study aimed to examine and compare the role of social determinants of depression in elderly Chinese subjects in Guangzhou, Hong Kong, and Taipei.

Methods: A mixed purposive and random sample of 891 Chinese (aged ≥65 years) in Guangzhou, Hong Kong, and Taipei were included. Depressive symptoms were measured by the Chinese version of the 15-item Geriatric Depression Scale. Correlates of physical health and various socio-demographic variables (including residency, age, gender, marital status, living arrangement, education level, financial adequacy, self-rated financial adequacy, social support variables, and employment status) were examined using hierarchical multiple regression analysis.

Results: Although the elderly in Hong Kong reported more depressive symptoms than their counterparts in Guangzhou and Taipei, location was not a significant correlate. Having poorer physical health, inadequate financial support, not having a confidant, and not having someone to provide care when ill or disabled—all correlated significantly with more depressive symptoms.

Conclusions: The differences in depressive symptoms in the 3 cities were likely due to variation in socio-cultural factors and support systems.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)58-65
Number of pages8
JournalAsian Journal of Gerontology & Geriatrics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2009

User-Defined Keywords

  • cultural diversity
  • depression
  • social environment


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