August 23, 2020 in Sociology
Depression among Chinese Older Adults

Statement of Research Problem

Depression has been a health problem that has affected a lot of people in different countries. It has portrayed a series of personal consequences to the affected people. There is a lack of knowledge in regards to the causes of depression among the older Chinese individuals. This short of awareness is in general because of the language differences between the individuals and other people. It may also be as a result of the cultural differences that may be present. It is important to ensure that the life of the older Chinese individuals is improved greatly. It is, therefore, crucial to ensure that training is made available to individuals on the different cultures of the Chinese people as well as the language of the Chinese so as to reduce these scenarios. This paper will attempt to analyze the depression found mostly among the Chinese elderly population in the United States and explore to a further extent the factors that may bring about problems in solving the issue.

Literature Review

The problem of depression has affected many of the elderly Chinese immigrants in the United States. The main cause of depression among the Chinese immigrants is due to the factors like language barriers as well as the social isolation and cultural differences. The fact that these immigrants may have difficulty socializing with other people in the United States due to the language barrier that is present, therefore, causing them to lack the power to socialize. An analysis was done on the elderly Chinese immigrants in America to determine the case of their depression. This analysis, however, proved that this stress levels were greater in women and not for the men. This correlation proved to remain the same even when there were changes made to the various variables like health and social support of the elderly. However, an interesting issue was the fact that the depression levels became eliminated when all the variables were dealt with. It is, therefore, safe to conclude that living alone is one of the major causes behind the depression in the elderly people.

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Studies done on the frequency at which the Chinese people are affected by stress levels have shown that the rates are at about 16-30%. Since the immigrants leave their country of birth moving to the US to live with their relatives and siblings, they leave the place they have known all their life as home and come to a foreign land where their cultural values are not really given a lot of attention making the elders feel out of place. Moreover, due to the barriers in language they are not able to make any new friends in this foreign country and they spend most of their time alone. This loneliness in turn begins to take a toll on their mental health and eventually leads to depression. Another main cause of depression among the elderly people is the fact that due to the changing lifestyle that they experience once they encounter the western culture they may find it difficult to adapt making them feel a lot of pressure that in turn results to stress.

The number of elderly people living alone has managed to increase over time due to factors like divorces low infertility among many more. The trend is going to increase mostly in the urban areas and highly industrialized areas. How the elderly people live affects their social life and it may also affect the relationship between them and their families. Research has proved that there is a very strong relationship between family and an individual’s mental health. This has led experts to believe that most elderly people experiencing depression get the depression due to residing alone without any support from their family members. These people are the same people that make use of the mental health services more and are in the highest danger of killing themselves.

From the research done on the target Chinese elders in the United States, it is clear that from the cultural perspective the relationship that exists between the residing alone and the mental well-being of an individual are different among the different cultural groups. Statistics have proven that an approximate ratio of 60% of the elderly people get their income from their children or grandchildren. Due to the fact that this has been the cultural trend in China the children will continue to be the main source of finance to the elderly people. However, once the elderly people migrate to the United States they find that their culture here is totally different and in turn they have to adjust. This gives them a lot of pressure and causes them to experience a tremendous amount of depression. Due to the fact that the elderly people cannot be able to handle a lot of work, as soon as they arrive in the United States all they do is sit at their residences. This, in turn, has caused those elders that are residing alone to develop high stress levels since they are residing alone because they cannot be able to keep themselves busy with any career.

The fact that residing alone affects the elders psychologically is different among the different genders. Arguments have aroused to contend the fact that residing alone may have greater effects on the men as compared to the women. This is because while the women may comfortable residing with their married daughters the men may be very uncomfortable to live in such conditions and may prefer to live with the son or alone. It is evident that women of age may perhaps have many friends as matched up against older men. As a result, it goes to indicate that older women are more prone to look out for support from friends whenever they are in need. On the other hand, it turns out to be difficult for older men to find any support as they have few friends.

Research Design

Data was collected from a sample of 10 Chinese elders living in the America that were chosen. The ten were analyzed further and a Chi-square and some regression analysis were used. The results from this analysis showed that residing alone results in greater stress levels as compared to residing with family or friends. However, it was clear that the depression in men was not similar to that of women. Women were seen to exhibit a high depression level as compared to the men. The variables were interfered with and the relationship remained the same. Nevertheless, the depression appeared to weaken away when all the variables were adjusted.

Research Method

The research method that was employed in this scenario was a case study design. This is because there was an application of an in-depth analysis of the particular causes of depression among the Chinese elderly immigrants in the U.S. from the analysis of a sample of elders the information gathered was analyzed and it led the research to get the conclusion that among the causes of depression we have language barriers cultural differences as well as boredom. The methodology that we relied on was to find a correlation between these factors and the depression levels among the elders that were chosen for the research.

Strengths and Limitations

Among the main limitations of this research plan is the fact that a single or small number of the cases offer a small basis of finding reliability. This also affects the generalization of the findings to the whole population of elderly Chinese immigrants in the U.S. There is also the problem of extensive exposure of the researchers to the study. This is because the intense exposure may cause biases to the findings of the study. The strength that comes from this research method is that it helps the researchers to understand such a complex issue like depression. This is through the detailed contextual analysis of the issue through analysis of an unlimited amount of conditions and events that the elders are subjected to too.


Due to the increase of elderly population there is need to ensure that studies are carried out to ensure that their quality of life is made better. This is by eliminating the illnesses that affect them most commonly. One of the illnesses is depression. Among the ethical issues that are common in this field is the assessment of the number of people with cognitive disorders are getting higher. There is also the role of the surrogates who make the decisions, the extent of the legal consent among the surrogates of the elders. Finally, there is the use of advanced methods of research as well as the research pertaining to the suicidal individuals.


Since the elders are commonly affected by the factors of residing alone. It is very important that an analysis is carried out on a small sample to see whether the truly residing alone affects them. Using the sample of ten adults was very effective since it was easier to keep an eye on them as well as manageable. The fact that the cultural and language barriers are also a cause of depression, it would be very important to introduce this factor to the samples and this would not have been possible if the sample would have been higher.


It is clear that the elderly population is on the rise in China. This is mostly due to the fact that the mortality rate has reduced and as a result of population increase over time. It is important to ensure that the elders are given a better life. This may only be achieved through analyzing the root cause of depression among them. One of the main causes that have appeared is the factor of residing alone. Other factors like cultural factors and language barriers also contribute to the depression.


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