The relationship between psychological resources, social resources, and depression: results from older spousal caregivers in Hong Kong

Aging Ment Health. 2012;16(8):1016-27. doi: 10.1080/13607863.2012.692769. Epub 2012 Jun 12.


Objectives: The rapidly ageing population in Hong Kong has led to a major concern in providing care for the elderly. Due to the current social changes in Hong Kong, such as smaller family size, longer life spans, and increasing employment demands, spouses increasingly serve as the primary caregivers for older adults. To explore the mental health of older spousal caregivers, this study investigated the relationships between psychological resources, social resources, and depression.

Method: One hundred fifty-eight spousal caregivers aged 55 and above were recruited from 13 caregiver resource centres in Hong Kong. Data were collected using structured questionnaires.

Results: Hierarchical regression analysis revealed that the number of duties and psychological resources including purpose in life, caregiver burden, and personal wellbeing explained 56% of the variance in depression. Logistic regression analysis further indicated that purpose in life predicted the likelihood of depression reported by caregivers. Social resources did not significantly predict depression.

Conclusion: Results suggest that mental health enhancement programs should be developed for Chinese spousal caregivers with a focus on purpose in life, burden, and personal wellbeing.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aging
  • Caregivers / psychology
  • Caregivers / statistics & numerical data
  • Cost of Illness
  • Depression / psychology*
  • Female
  • Hong Kong
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Health
  • Middle Aged
  • Personal Satisfaction
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Quality of Life / psychology
  • Regression Analysis
  • Self Concept
  • Social Support*
  • Spouses / psychology*
  • Stress, Psychological / psychology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires