Journal of Happiness Studies

, Volume 6, Issue 1, pp 69–91 | Cite as

Perceived change in quality of life among chinese canadian seniors: the role of involvement in chinese culture

  • Neena L. ChappellEmail author


Although much gerontological literature is focused on subjective well-being, quality of life, and life satisfaction, we know little about this concept in old age among sub-cultural groups. This paper presents empirical data on subjective well-being among Chinese seniors (age 55 and over) living in seven cities in Canada. It asks whether and to what extent traditional Chinese culture, a culture in which seniors have been historically valued as wise and contributing members to be respected, is related to their evaluation of whether or not life has improved in old age. Among a random sample of 2272 Chinese seniors, some but not all aspects of traditional Chinese culture were related to their valuation of old age. In particular, involvement in that traditional culture, return visits to the homeland, immigration due to family reunion, and ancestor worship were significant predictors but differentially depending on whether the overall scale or specific domains within that overall scale was the dependent variable. The fact that differential aspects of traditional culture contribute to a positive experience of aging suggests we must be careful in generalizing to “traditional” culture. Importantly, ethnocentric beliefs regarding Chinese culture were not related to any domain of quality of life.


Chinese Canadians life satisfaction positive aging seniors traditional culture 


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Copyright information

© Springer 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre on Aging and Department of SociologyUniversity of VictoriaVictoriaCANADA

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