Neighborhood Environment and Mental Well-Being among Chinese Older Adults: The Mediating Role of Social Capital

Shiyu Lu, Yingqi Guo, Cheryl Chui, Yuqi Liu, On Fung Chan, Samuel W. Chan, Terry Y. S. Lum*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Background and Objectives:

Neighborhood environments are increasingly recognized as associated with mental well-being among older adults. However, their underlying mechanisms remain unclear. This study investigated mediating effects of cognitive and structural social capital (SC) in relationships between neighborhood environments and mental well-being among older adults.

Research Design and Methods:

We conducted a cross-sectional analysis of 1,277 community-dwellers aged 60 years and older in Hong Kong in 2021. The Warwick–Edinburgh Mental Well-being Scale assessed mental well-being. Perceived age-friendly environment was assessed. Objective neighborhood environment was measured by the number of neighborhood facilities (e.g., transportation, community centers, leisure facilities) within 200-m and 500-m buffer areas from respondents’ residences. Structural equational modeling was used.


Perceived age-friendly environment regarding community and health support had a protective role on mental well-being. More community centers were directly associated with better affective-emotional well-being, while more passive leisure facilities directly lowered psychological-functioning well-being. Cognitive SC outweighed structural SC in mediating relationships of neighborhood environment on mental well-being.

Discussion and Implications:

Our findings advance the ecological model of aging by providing evidence for cognitive and structural SC as mediators to explain the relationship between neighborhood environment and mental well-being. Policy implications for optimizing mental well-being in aging societies are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberigac070
Number of pages13
JournalInnovation in Aging
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2022

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Health Professions (miscellaneous)
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies

User-Defined Keywords

  • Age-friendly environment
  • Mental health
  • Quality of life
  • Social networks


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