This study demonstrates that U.S. Chinese older women are more likely to perceive positive family and friend support in addition to spousal support than older men. On the other hand, U.S. Chinese older men are more likely to perceive negative spousal support than older women. Gender difference of socio-demographic and health related factors with perceived social support is also observed. Age and health changes are significantly correlated with perceived positive support in women but not in men, whereas the number of children is significantly correlated with perceived positive support in men but not in women. In addition, overall health status and health changes in the past year were negatively correlated with perceived negative support in older women only.
The study provides new insights concerning the gender difference of perceived social support in U.S. Chinese older adults. The inclusion of both positive and negative aspects of social support facilitates a more comprehensive understanding of the perceived social support in U.S. Chinese older adults. Through the implementation of the CBPR approach, we are able to improve the rigor of the research methodology by developing more culturally competent instruments. The involvement of community organizations from all respects also improves the trust between multilingual interviews and older adults and ensures the quality of data (Dong, 2011).
In the study, both older men and women are more likely to perceive positive spousal support and family support than friend support. The finding is in accordance with previous studies that show spouse and family members are the primary source of social support for Chinese older adults, regardless of gender. A study comparing the impacts of social support from family members and friends in 108 Chinese older adults in Hong Kong suggest that, family support plays a more important role in the life satisfaction than does friend support (Yeung and Fung, 2007). In another study of 150 Chinese and 145 American older adults, the relationship between family support and psychological illness is stronger for Chinese older adults, while the relationship of friend support and psychological illness is stronger for American older adults (Poulin). On the other hand, this study demonstrates that negative spousal and family supports are more likely to present in both older men and older women than negative friend support, supporting the notion that positive social support and negative social support are not independent (Lincoln). .
With regards to the gender difference of perceived positive social support, the study demonstrates that women are more likely to perceive positive family and friend support in addition to spousal support. The finding lends credence to a large body of research in western countries and in Chinese populations. For example, a longitudinal study with 439 community-dwelling married U.S. older adults...