Poverty, deprivation, and depressive symptoms among older adults in Hong Kong

Chi Kin CHEUNG, Kee Lee CHOU

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlespeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives: Examine the association of income poverty and material deprivation with depression in old age.
Methods: Our data contains a survey of 1,959 older Chinese adults in Hong Kong. We used the Geriatric Depression Scale – Short Form to assess their depressive symptoms. Income poverty was defined as having household income below half the median household income (adjusted by household size); material deprivation was measured by a validated 28-item material deprivation. In addition to income poverty and material deprivation, we also assessed the effect of socio-demographic variables, financial strain, health indicators, and social and community resources on depressive symptoms.
Results: Those who experienced material deprivation reported a significantly more severe depressive symptoms, even after income poverty and all other covariates were controlled for; the bivariate association between income poverty and depressive symptoms disappeared once material deprivation was controlled for. Further, we found a significant interaction effect between income poverty and material deprivation on depressive symptoms; and both engagement in cultural activities and neighborhood collective efficacy moderated the impact of being materially deprived on depressive symptoms.
Conclusion: Our results have important policy implications for the measurement of poverty and for the development of anti-poverty measures for materially deprived older adults. Copyright © 2017 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)22-29
JournalAging & Mental Health
Issue number1
Early online dateOct 2017
Publication statusPublished - 2019


Cheung, K. C. K., & Chou, K.-L. (2019). Poverty, deprivation, and depressive symptoms among older adults in Hong Kong. Aging & Mental Health, 23(1), 22-29. doi: 10.1080/13607863.2017.1394438


  • Poverty
  • Material deprivation
  • Depressive symptoms
  • Chinese


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