Socioeconomic inequalities in mental distress and life satisfaction among older Chinese men and women: The role of family functioning

Xue Bai, Zhonglu Li, Juan Chen, Chang Liu, Xiaogang Wu

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Despite growing concern over socioeconomic inequality in health, few studies have focused on health inequality among older adults. The present study examined the independent and joint effects of socioeconomic status (SES) and family functioning on mental health and subjective well-being and explored the gender differences in such relations. Representative survey data on older adults (N = 1,432) were drawn from the third wave of the Hong Kong Panel Study of Social Dynamics conducted in 2015. Descriptive analyses and ordinary least-squares regressions were conducted for data analysis. The results demonstrate that receipt of means-tested welfare payments was associated with more severe mental distress and lower life satisfaction; living in private (as opposed to public or subsidised) housing was associated with better mental health; whereas holding investments and larger residence size were related to higher life satisfaction. Moreover, greater family functioning predicted better mental health and greater subjective well-being and mitigated the detrimental effects of low SES. Gender differences were observed concerning the effects of different predictors. The findings could inform the development of health-promotion services sensitive to gender and socioeconomic differences and facilitate integration of individual- and family-level services for older adults.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1270-1281
Number of pages12
JournalHealth and Social Care in the Community
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2020


  • gender
  • health inequality
  • socioeconomic status
  • subjective well-being

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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