Levels of acculturation of Chinese older adults in the greater Chicago area – The population study of Chinese Elderly in Chicago

Xinqi Dong, Stephanie M. Bergren, E. Shien Chang

Publication Date: 09/01/2015

Acculturation is a difficult process for minority older adults for a variety of reasons, including access and exposure to mainstream culture, competing ethnic identities, and linguistic ability and preference. There is a paucity of research regarding overall level of acculturation for Chinese older adults in the United States. This study aimed to provide an overall estimate of level of acculturation of Chinese older adults in the United States and to examine correlations between sociodemographic characteristics, self-reported health measures, and level of acculturation. Data were collected through the Population Study of Chinese Elderly in Chicago (PINE) study. This community-based participatory research study surveyed 3,159 Chinese older adults aged 60 and older. The PINE Study Acculturation Scale was used to assess level of acculturation in three dimensions: language preference, media use, and ethnic social relations. Mean acculturation level for all items was 15.3 ± 5.1, indicating low levels of acculturation. Older age, more offspring, lower income, fewer years living in the United States, lower overall health status, and lower quality of life were associated with lower levels of acculturation. Level of acculturation was low in Chinese older adults, and certain subsets of the population were more likely to have a lower level of acculturation. Future research should investigate causality and effects of level of acculturation.