The Healthy Immigrant Effect on Older Chinese immigrants in the Greater Toronto Area

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Authors
Deng, Xiaojun
Keyword
Healthy Immigrant Effect , older Chinese immigrants , Ageing in Place
Abstract
In Canada, immigrants amount to approximately one-fifth of the total national population. They play significant roles in Canada’s economic and social development. From previous research, it has been observed that recent working-age immigrants are healthier than their Canadian-born counterparts, but this effect has not yet been verified among older immigrants. Canada is also facing noticeable challenges in health care service provision due to its ageing population. Among all the older visible minorities in Canada, older Chinese immigrants account for the largest visible minority group. This population encounters substantial integration challenges due to dissimilar cultural backgrounds. Integration-related difficulties such as language barriers or the access to healthcare services may also affect their health. Therefore, this thesis focuses on the health status and variations in health among the older Chinese population. This study uses a sequential mixed-method approach to examine the Healthy Immigrant Effect (HIE) on older Chinese immigrants in Canada. On a macro-level, the health status of older Chinese immigrants in Canada is compared to the health status of both older Canadian-born residents in Canada and older Chinese in China. The data suggests that recent older Chinese immigrants have better self-rated mental health than older Canadian-born residents in Canada. On a micro-level, the self-rated health of older Chinese immigrants in the Greater Toronto Area is significantly influenced by their occupations, physical health and mental health status. A qualitative analysis of interviews with older Chinese immigrants reveals how their health is influenced by the different aspects of their post-immigration life, such as their utilization of Canada’s health care system, the environment, and their financial situation. The findings show only weak evidence to support the HIE among older Chinese immigrants in Canada. Despite the differences among older Chinese immigrants’ clinical health and self-rated health status, it is important to understand the reasons for variations in their health from their own perspectives.
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