Social network and health: A comparison of Chinese older adults in Shanghai and elderly immigrants in Boston

Bei Wu, Man Guo, Iris Chi, Brenda L. Plassman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The association between social network and health in older Chinese immigrants in the USA and their counterparts in China was examined using data from 177 Chinese immigrants in Boston, USA and 428 respondents in Shanghai, China. The results showed that Chinese immigrants had a significantly better self-rated health status but also that they reported a greater number of functional limitations. Although the level of the social network differed among respondents in Shanghai and in Boston, the impact of the social network on health status was similar for the two samples. The impact of the social network diminished when covariates such as health behaviors and health problems were added to the models. The conclusion, therefore, is that much of the association between a strong social network and better self-reported health in later life may be explained by other factors such as socio-economic status, health behaviors, health status, and access to health care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S59-S71
JournalInternational Journal of Social Welfare
Issue numberSUPPL. 1
StatePublished - Oct 1 2011



  • Chinese older adults
  • Health status
  • Immigrants
  • International comparison
  • Social network

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science

Cite this