Anxiety Symptoms, Depressive Symptoms, and Traditional Chinese Medicine Use in U.S. Chinese Older Adults


This study examined the association between anxiety symptoms, depressive symptoms, and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) use among U.S. Chinese older adults. Data was obtained from the Population Study of Chinese Elderly in Chicago (N = 3157; mean age = 72.8). Anxiety symptoms were assessed with the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS‐A). Depressive symptoms were assessed with the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9). TCM modalities included herbal products, acupuncture, massage therapy, Taichi, and other types of TCM. Although not significant, there was a trend indicating that higher levels of anxiety symptoms showed a higher rate of acupuncture use and massage therapy. Older Chinese Americans with depressive symptoms were more likely to use acupuncture and massage therapy; and they were less likely to use other TCM. Future research is needed to identify reasons for TCM use; and how these factors mediate or moderate the relationship between psychiatric symptoms and TCM use.

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We thank the study participants and staff of the Chinese Health, Aging, and Policy Program (CHAPP), Rush Institute for Healthy Aging. Dr. XinQi Dong was supported by National Institute on Aging Grants (Grant Nos. R01 AG042318, R01 MD006173, R01 AG11101, and RC4 AG039085), Paul B. Beeson Award in Aging (Grant No. K23 AG030944), the Starr Foundation, American Federation for Aging Research, John A. Hartford Foundation, and the Atlantic Philanthropies.

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Correspondence to Ying-Yu Chao.

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Chao, YY., You, E., Chang, YP. et al. Anxiety Symptoms, Depressive Symptoms, and Traditional Chinese Medicine Use in U.S. Chinese Older Adults. J Immigrant Minority Health 22, 746–753 (2020).

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  • Traditional Chinese medicine
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Chinese older adults