Psychological distress of older Chinese: exploring the roles of activities, social support, and subjective social status

J Cross Cult Gerontol. 2014 Mar;29(1):37-51. doi: 10.1007/s10823-013-9219-0.


The goal of this research is to examine if the long neglected correlates such as social and leisure activities, social support, and subjective social status contribute to variations in psychological distress among older Chinese. Using data collected in one of the most developed areas in China-Suzhou city, Jiangsu province, the authors find that engaging in various exercises, living with both spouse and adult children, perceived availability of social support from others as well as believing in the importance of caring for other family members are particularly beneficial for mental health whereas the perception of relative deprivation and low life quality is detrimental to mental health for older Chinese. This work is among the first studies that comprehensively examined various important correlates of psychological distress and indicate the unique patterns of distress among the elderly in the most developed area in the contemporary China.

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Asian People / psychology*
  • China
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Family Characteristics
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Leisure Activities*
  • Male
  • Quality of Life*
  • Social Class*
  • Social Environment
  • Social Support*
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Stress, Psychological / etiology
  • Stress, Psychological / psychology*