Social Capital and Mental Wellbeing of Older People Migrating along with Adult Children in Shenzhen, China

Julia Juan Wang, Daniel W. L. Lai*, Wenqing Yu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review


The phenomenon of ‘older people migrating along’ (OPMA) with adult children is a unique outcome of social changes that have occurred in China. These individuals generally experience different challenges and needs associated with mental wellbeing. However, there is limited research on the relationship between the social capital and mental health of OPMA in China. This study aims to examine the mental health status of OPMA and the effects of bonding social capital and bridging social capital on their mental wellbeing in China by conducting a quantitative research survey among 399 OPMA participants. We found that bonding social capital correlated to only one indicator of mental wellbeing, subjective happiness. Bridging social capital had significant relationships with four mental health indicators, namely, the 12-item General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-12), Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS), subjective happiness, and life satisfaction. Through strengthening bridging social capital, these older adults can benefit from more opportunities for participation in formal or informal organizations in their communities and improve their mental wellbeing.

Original languageEnglish
Article number6857
Number of pages18
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number19
Early online date28 Sept 2023
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2023

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

User-Defined Keywords

  • mental wellbeing
  • older adults migrating along
  • social capital


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