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Sense of Community among Chinese Older Adults in the Greater Chicago Area: Findings from the PINE Study

Xinqi Dong E-Shien Chang Melissa A. Simon

*Corresponding author: Xinqi Dong xinqi_dong@rush.edu

medicalScience2014,1,28doi:10.3934/medsci.2014.1.28

Background: Sense of community is a concept that has significant implications cross multiple disciplines, particularly in public health practice. However, there exists a knowledge gap in utilizing the sense of community in investigating the health of older immigrant populations. Objective: This study aimed to explore the perception of the sense of community among community-dwelling U.S. Chinese older adults. Methods: Data were from the PINE study, a population-based survey of U.S. Chinese older adults aged 60 years and above in the greater Chicago area. We administered the Sense of Community Index to measure the levels of sense of community. Socio-demographic information was also collected. Results: Our results suggest that Chinese older adults in this study sample reported a strong sense of community. In total, 86.7% of the participants reported satisfaction with the current neighborhood, and 78.4% expressed their desire to continue living in the community as long as possible. In addition, older age (r =0.11), having higher levels of income (r =0.08), being female (r =0.08), being unmarried (r =-0.06), living with fewer people (r =-0.22), having more children (r =0.11), having been in the U.S. for more years (r =0.12), longer residency in the community (r =0.15), higher overall health status (r =0.18), better quality of life (r =0.23), and improved health status in the past year (r =0.11) were significantly correlated with the higher levels of the sense of the community. Conclusions: The study investigation provided the basis for generating empirical knowledge for understanding the sense of community among U.S. Chinese older adults. Future research is needed to delineate the mechanisms underlying sense of community and health in the increasingly diverse aging population.

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