Depression among elderly Chinese-Canadian immigrants from Mainland China

Wing Leung Lai

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

43 Citations (Scopus)


Background. This study examined the prevalence of depressive symptoms among elderly immigrants from Mainland China to Canada and the impact of various psychosocial factors as predictors of the number of depressive symptoms reported by the elderly Chinese immigrants. Methods. The participants were 444 elderly immigrants who migrated from Mainland China to Canada. They were a part of a random sample of 2272 elderly Chinese living in the communities and took part in a face-to-face interview to answer questions in an orally administrated questionnaire. The depressive symptoms of the participants were measured by a Chinese version of the Geriatric Depression Scale. Data obtained from the 444 elderly Chinese immigrants was analyzed to assess the impact of various psychosocial factors on the number of depressive symptoms that they reported. Results. The findings indicated that 23.2% of the elderly immigrants were assessed to have some depressive symptoms. When other predicting variables were adjusted, elderly immigrants with more chronic illnesses, less positive attitude towards ageing, poorer physical health, less adequate financial situation, lower level of ethnic identification as Chinese, more service barriers, lower level of life satisfaction, shorter length of residency in Canada and those who lived alone tended to have more depressive symptoms. Conclusions. The findings indicate that the prevalence rate of depressive symptoms among our elderly immigrant sample is higher than the one reported in a general elderly population. While further research is recommended to examine the reasons for such a difference, culturally appropriate health services, including health promotion programs, should be promoted to reduce mental health disparities.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)677-683
Number of pages7
JournalChinese Medical Journal
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Depression
  • Elderly Chinese
  • Elderly immigrants
  • Geriatric Depression Scale
  • Mental health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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