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The SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) pandemic in Hong Kong : effects on the subjective wellbeing of elderly and younger people

Lau, Anna L.D., Chi, Iris, Cummins, Robert A., Lee, Tatia M.C., Chou, Kee-L. and Chung, Lawrence W.M. 2008, The SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) pandemic in Hong Kong : effects on the subjective wellbeing of elderly and younger people, Aging and mental health, vol. 12, no. 6, pp. 746-760, doi: 10.1080/13607860802380607.

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Title The SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) pandemic in Hong Kong : effects on the subjective wellbeing of elderly and younger people
Author(s) Lau, Anna L.D.
Chi, Iris
Cummins, Robert A.ORCID iD for Cummins, Robert A. orcid.org/0000-0001-9014-7193
Lee, Tatia M.C.
Chou, Kee-L.
Chung, Lawrence W.M.
Journal name Aging and mental health
Volume number 12
Issue number 6
Start page 746
End page 760
Publisher Routledge
Place of publication Abingdon, England
Publication date 2008-11
ISSN 1360-7863
1364-6915
Keyword(s) quality of life
subjective wellbeing
satisfaction
SARS
elderly
Personal Wellbeing Index
Summary Objectives: This study examined the impact of the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) outbreak in Hong Kong in 2003, on the subjective wellbeing (SWB) of elderly people and a younger comparative sample. The Personal Wellbeing Index (PWI), a contemporary instrument employed to measure SWB, was also examined for its psychometric performance to substantiate its use.

Method: A total of 302 older adults (age 65 + years) and 158 younger adults (age 35-46 years) were recruited from different districts. Data were collected by individual face-to-face interviews.

Result: While elderly people living in severely infected districts showed significantly lower levels of SWB, these levels and those of the younger sample were found to remain within the normative range. A major mitigating factor was an increased sense of community-connectedness. Other characteristics linked to low wellbeing levels included chronic illness, female gender, low education and unemployment. The living districts, characterized by varying extents of infection, had stronger associations with SWB than participants' age. The PWI demonstrated good psychometric performance and also more robustness with elderly people, including its sensitivity to the sense of population threat.

Conclusion
: Psychological resilience was identified among both the elderly and younger age-groups in Hong Kong during the SARS pandemic. The PWI is verified as a suitable instrument for SWB measurements.
Language eng
DOI 10.1080/13607860802380607
Field of Research 170113 Social and Community Psychology
Socio Economic Objective 970117 Expanding Knowledge in Psychology and Cognitive Sciences
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2008, Taylor & Francis
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30017677

Document type: Journal Article
Collection: School of Psychology
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