Impact of culture on depressive symptoms of elderly Chinese immigrants

Wing Leung Lai

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

79 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives: The impact of culture on mental health has been inadequately researched. This study examines the effect of cultural factors on the depressive symptoms reported by elderly Chinese immigrants in Canada. Method: Data from 1537 elderly Chinese immigrants who took part in a cross-sectional multisite survey on the health and well-being of older Chinese-Canadians were used. Participants were identified through telephone screening of randomly selected telephone numbers listed with Chinese surnames. A structured questionnaire was used to conduct face-to-face interviews. A Chinese version of the 15-item Geriatric Depression Scale was used to assess depressive symptoms. Results: Close to one-quarter of the elderly Chinese immigrants reported having at least a mild level of depressive symptoms. Having more cultural barriers and a higher level of identification with Chinese cultural values resulted in a higher probability of being depressive. Conclusions: The importance of the sociocultural determinants of mental health is demonstrated. The health delivery system should be more sensitive to the unique ethnic and cultural differences of older immigrants.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)820-827
Number of pages8
JournalCanadian Journal of Psychiatry
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Chinese-Canadians
  • Depression
  • Elderly Chinese immigrants
  • Prevalence of depressive symptoms

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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