Relationships between culture and health status: A multi-site study of the older Chinese in Canada

Wing Leung Lai, Tat Tsang Ka, Neena Chappell, David C.Y. Lai, Shirley B.Y. Chau

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

34 Citations (Scopus)


This study examined the relationships between culture and the health status of older Chinese in Canada. Data were collected through face-to-face interviews with a cross-sectional, randomly selected sample of 2,272 older Chinese between 55 and 101 years of age in seven Canadian cities. Health status was assessed by the number of chronic illnesses, by limitations in ADL and IADL, and by information on the Medical Outcome Study Short Form SF-36. Although cultural variables explained only a small proportion of variance in health status, having a stronger level of identification with traditional Chinese health beliefs was significant in predicting physical health, number of illnesses, and limitations on IADL. Other cultural variables, including religion, country of origin, and length of residence in Canada, were also significant in predicting some health variables. Interventions to improve health should focus on strategies to enhance cultural compatibility between users and the health delivery system.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)171-183
Number of pages13
JournalCanadian Journal on Aging
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Aging
  • Chinese elderly
  • Culture
  • Health
  • Older people

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Gerontology
  • Community and Home Care
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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