Experience of discrimination among U.S. Chinese older adults

Xinqi Dong, Ruijia Chen, Melissa A. Simon

Publication Date: 01/01/2014

Background. Experiences of discrimination are detrimental to health and well-being. This study aimed to examine experiences of discrimination and responses to unfair treatment among community-dwelling U.S. Chinese older adults. Method. Guided by a community-based participatory research approach, 3,159 community-dwelling Chinese older adults aged 60 years and older in the Greater Chicago area were interviewed in person between 2011 and 2013. Results. Of the 3,159 participants interviewed, 58.9% were women and the mean age was 72.8 years. A total of 671 (21.3%) participants reported having experienced discrimination and 1,454 (48.2%) reported passive response to unfair treatment. Older adults living in Chicago’s Chinatown had the lowest prevalence of perceived discrimination compared with those living in other areas. Younger age, higher education, higher income, fewer children, more years in the United States, more years in the community, poorer health status, lower quality of life, and worsening health over the last year were associated with higher frequency of discrimination reported. Younger age, higher education, higher income, being married, living with more people, having fewer children, more years in the United States, and better health over the past year were associated with engaged responses to unfair treatment. Conclusion. U.S. Chinese older adults suffered considerable discrimination, but tended to have passive responses to unfair treatment. Future longitudinal studies are needed to improve our understanding of the risk factors and outcomes associated with discrimination among U.S. Chinese older adults.