Health-Seeking Behaviors of Elderly Chinese Americans: Shifts in Expectations

Elaine C. Pang, Maryalice Jordan-Marsh, Merril Silverstein, Michael Cody

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

116 Scopus citations


Purpose: This study reported a qualitative analysis of health-seeking behaviors of community-dwelling elderly Chinese Americans on the influences of family network, cultural values, and immigrant experience in their use of health resources. Barriers to health care, pathway of health care, and adaptation of health care by use of self-treatment and Eastern and Western medicines were also examined. Design and Methods: The investigators used content analysis to obtain themes and key points of focus group interview data (N = 25) to explore the elderly participants' attitudes, values, and practices in their use of health resources. Survey questionnaires in Chinese were used to compile demographic data. Results: Findings suggested a shift from traditional expectations of filial piety to more dependence on neighbors and friends, and a genuine adaptability to combining Eastern and Western health care modalities. Immigration was not proposed by these Chinese elders as an explanation of shifts in expectations for family support or values. Implications: This study has implications for research, service delivery, and policy making for health care of ethnic elderly persons, particularly in addressing structural and cultural issues in access and compliance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)864-874
Number of pages11
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Chinese medicine
  • Cultural values
  • Family
  • Filial piety
  • Health resources
  • Immigrants
  • Social networks

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gerontology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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