Loss of friends and psychological well-being of older Chinese immigrants

Jinyu Liu, Weiyu Mao, Man Guo, Ling Xu, Iris Chi, Xinqi Dong

Publication Date: 11/28/2019

Background and objectives: Focusing on a less studied aspect of friendship and an overlooked type of loss, this study examined associations between loss of friends and psychological well-being among older Chinese immigrants and whether such associations are moderated by age, gender, marital status, and social connection.

Research methods: This study used baseline data from the Population Study of Chinese Elderly in Chicago. Linear and logistic regressions tested whether the loss of friends was associated depressive symptoms, loneliness, and quality of life. Interaction terms were created to test the moderating effects.

Results: Losing friends was associated with a greater sense of loneliness but also a higher chance of reporting good quality of life. The association between the loss of friends and loneliness was stronger among married and young-old (59–69) participants. The association between the loss of friends and quality of life was stronger among young-old and old-old (70–79) participants and the participants with the high level of social connection.

Discussion and implications: Findings shed light on the importance of the loss of friends in shaping psychological well-being among older immigrants. More research is needed to understand the needs of older friend survivors and develop relevant interventions.