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Coping strategies and social support-seeking behaviour among Chinese caring for older people with dementia

  • ALMA AU (a1), STEVEN M. SHARDLOW (a1) (a2), YUE TENG (a1), TERESA TSIEN (a1) and CHARLES CHAN (a1)...

The study reviewed coping and help-seeking behaviour among Hong Kong Chinese family care-givers of older people diagnosed with dementia. A convenience sample of those caring for family members with dementia (N=11) was recruited in Hong Kong. Semi-structured interviews were conducted, transcribed and analysed using NVivo. The study found evidence of distinct Chinese coping strategies that focused upon internal self-regulation, forbearance and family obligations. In terms of help-seeking behaviour, these care-givers expressed great concern about bothering their family members. When there is a desperate need for help, they turn to community services. Results are discussed in the context of both traditional Chinese cultural values as well as the modern transformations of the Chinese society. In particular, Eastern philosophical teachings tend to focus on changing personal inner perception and thoughts rather than attempting to change the environment. Although family obligations have been traditionally upheld, many modern Chinese societies are undergoing social and demographic changes, resulting in marked decline in multi-generational households. Our findings can have applications not only for Chinese cities but also may have implications to the West as strong well-established Chinese communities are widespread.

Corresponding author
Address for correspondence: Alma Au, Department of Applied Social Sciences, Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hung Hom, Hong Kong, China. E-mail:
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Ageing & Society
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