Veiled entrapment: A study of social isolation of older Chinese migrants in Brisbane, Queensland

David Ip, Chi Wai Lui, Wing Hong Chui

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

86 Citations (Scopus)


This paper presents the findings of a study of the support and service needs of older Chinese people in Brisbane, the capital city of Queensland, Australia. There were two specific objectives: to ascertain the problems encountered by older Chinese-Australians in their daily lives and social activities; and to develop policy and service development recommendations, with a view to mitigating their problems, meeting their unmet needs, improving their quality of life, and enhancing their participation in Australian society. The study used multiple methods, including a literature review, focus group meetings, and a community survey. The findings indicate that older Chinese people, and particularly women, experience significant restrictions in their activity patterns, social isolation and loneliness. Their lack of proficiency in the English language, and the difficulties they have in accessing language-support and interpretation services, limit their autonomous mobility and make them heavily dependent on their adult children, not least for transport. Their physical and psychological wellbeing is affected further by strained relations with their adult children, and these are compounded by financial concerns. The implications of the findings for welfare policy and practice are discussed at the end of the paper.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)719-738
Number of pages20
JournalAgeing and Society
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Chinese
  • Family relationships
  • Flial piety
  • Loneliness
  • Needs assessment
  • Older migrants
  • Overseas

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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