Objectives: To examine, among older Chinese and Korean immigrants: (1) the concept and measurement of perceived social support; (2) levels of social support and psychological well-being by living arrangement; and (3) whether social support is positively related to psychological well-being.
Design: A convenience sample of 200 self-identified Chinese and Koreans, aged 65 years and older, were interviewed. Psychometric analysis was conducted to examine the reliability and validity of a new social support measure. Bivariate and multivariate analyses were used to examine the relationship between social support and psychological well-being.
Results: Factor analysis revealed a four-factor solution of social support and adequate psychometrics of all social support scales was found. Multivariate results suggest that Koreans have more depression than Chinese (p < 0.01). Those who lived with their spouse and adult children had lower overall psychological well-being (p < 0.05) and lower positive affect (p < 0.05) compared to those who lived alone. Having more emotional/companionship support significantly (p < 0.001) contributed to better overall psychological well-being, having less depression and higher positive affect.
Conclusions: A new multidimensional social support measure for use with older Chinese and Koreans could be useful upon further validation. These results suggest that older Chinese and Koreans' psychological well-being may be negatively affected when they live with their adult children. More depression in Koreans may be related to difficulties in expanding their social network beyond Korean-speaking people.