Depressive Symptoms among Older Chinese Americans: Examining the Role of Acculturation and Family Dynamics

Fei Sun, Xiang Gao, Shuo Gao, Qilun Li, David Hodge

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    19 Scopus citations


    Objectives This study identified the prevalence of depression and tested the influence of acculturation and family dynamics on depressive symptoms, among a community sample of older Chinese Americans. Method Data came from a survey of 385 Chinese Americans aged 55 and older (M age = 72.4 years, SD = 8.7) living in a large metropolitan area in the American Southwest. The survey was administered in 2013 through face-to-face interviews. Depressive symptoms were assessed with the 12-item Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression scale. Results Approximately 19.5% of the sample reported mild depressive symptoms and an additional 8.5% reported moderate depressive symptoms. Three-step hierarchical regression analyses indicated that smaller family support network size and more family conflict were risk factors for depressive symptoms. The effect of acculturation was not significantly associated with depressive symptoms after controlling for family dynamics. Discussion Family support and conflict play a prominent role in explaining depressive symptoms among Chinese American older adults. The effect of acculturation is minimal when older adults have supportive families and good health. Interventions or services aimed at promoting family harmony for members of this population should be considered.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)870-879
    Number of pages10
    JournalJournals of Gerontology - Series B Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences
    Issue number5
    StatePublished - Jun 14 2018


    • Acculturation
    • Depression
    • Family conflict
    • Family support
    • Older Chinese Americans

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Health(social science)
    • Sociology and Political Science
    • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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