Coping strategies and social support-seeking behaviour among Chinese caring for older people with dementia

May Lan Alma Mary Gerardina Au, Steven M. Shardlow, Yue Teng, Teresa Tsien, Charles Chan

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

41 Citations (Scopus)


The study reviewed coping and help-seeking behaviour among Hong Kong Chinese family care-givers of older people diagnosed with dementia. A convenience sample of those caring for family members with dementia (N=11) was recruited in Hong Kong. Semi-structured interviews were conducted, transcribed and analysed using NVivo. The study found evidence of distinct Chinese coping strategies that focused upon internal self-regulation, forbearance and family obligations. In terms of help-seeking behaviour, these care-givers expressed great concern about bothering their family members. When there is a desperate need for help, they turn to community services. Results are discussed in the context of both traditional Chinese cultural values as well as the modern transformations of the Chinese society. In particular, Eastern philosophical teachings tend to focus on changing personal inner perception and thoughts rather than attempting to change the environment. Although family obligations have been traditionally upheld, many modern Chinese societies are undergoing social and demographic changes, resulting in marked decline in multi-generational households. Our findings can have applications not only for Chinese cities but also may have implications to the West as strong well-established Chinese communities are widespread.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1422-1441
Number of pages20
JournalAgeing and Society
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2013


  • care-givers
  • Chinese
  • coping
  • dementia
  • Hong Kong
  • social support

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Social Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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