256004 Community-engaged research in successful aging: Health beliefs of Chinese and Hmong elders

Monday, October 29, 2012

Annie Nguyen, PhD, MPH , Institute for Health and Society, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI
David Seal, PhD , Department of Global Community Health and Behavioral Sciences, Tulane University, New Orleans, LA
Objective: This exploratory study examines the ways in which Chinese and Hmong elders define successful aging and the health behaviors they consider to be contributory to healthy aging. Methods: In-depth interviews were conducted with 40 Hmong (non-English speaking) and Chinese elders, aged 60 and over. Community partners facilitated access to and trust-building among participants. Results: Community partners played a crucial role in recruiting and enrolling non-English speaking Hmong elders. Trust-building across both groups allowed the research to proceed despite lack of funding for interpretation services and participant incentives. Analyses suggest that factors contributing to successful aging include harmony among family relationships, physical independence, mental acuity, fulfilling friendships, lack of stress, and acceptance of one's physical health, regardless of quality. Filial piety was also associated with wellness, particularly among Hmong elders. Chinese elders emphasized the need to practice moderation and self-discipline throughout one's life in order to maintain a state of healthiness. Health contributing factors within the realm of self-control include food consumption, exercise, social enrichment, planning and discipline, and having realistic expectations about aging. Factors outside the realm of self-control include genetics/family history, luck, external stressors, and lack of adequate support systems. Conclusion: Buy-in from community partners was crucial for accessing a population that would otherwise be hard to reach. There are clear differences in the successful aging narratives between Hmong and Chinese elders. Differences in health beliefs between the two groups highlight the heterogeneity of Asian populations with implications for the design of health-promoting services to the elderly.

Learning Areas:
Diversity and culture
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Discuss the value of community engagement in aging research. Describe the ways in which the definitions of successful aging for Chinese elders differ from that for Hmong elders. Identify the health contributing factors that are believed by elders to be modifiable.

Keywords: Aging, Asian Americans

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the principal investigator on this project, my dissertation research.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.