Chinese Immigrant Women's Attitudes and Beliefs about Family Involvement in Women's Health and Healthcare: A Qualitative Study in Chicago's Chinatown

Melissa A. Simon*, Laura S. Tom, Ivy Leung, Shaneah Taylor, Esther Wong, Dan P. Vicencio, Xinqi Dong

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Purpose: Healthcare utilization and health-seeking behaviors of Chinese American immigrant women may be influenced by longstanding cultural perspectives of family roles and relationships. An understanding of Chinese immigrant women's perceptions of family social support in health and how these beliefs manifest in healthcare utilization and help-seeking behaviors is critical to the development of culturally appropriate health interventions. Focusing on a sample of Chinese women in Chicago's Chinatown, this qualitative study seeks to describe women's attitudes and beliefs about spouse and adult children's involvement in women's health and healthcare. Methods: We conducted six focus groups among 56 Chinese-speaking adult women in Chicago's Chinatown between July and August 2014. Focus groups were transcribed, coded, and analyzed for emergent themes. Results: Women reported that their adult children supported their health and healthcare utilization by helping them overcome language and transportation barriers, making and supporting decisions, and providing informational and instrumental support related to diet and nutrition. Women viewed these supports with mixed expectations of filial piety, alongside preferences to limit dependency and help-seeking because of concern and emotional distress regarding burdening adult children. Women's expectations of the spouse involvement in their healthcare were low and were shaped by avoidance of family conflict. Conclusion: Findings inform opportunities for the development of culturally appropriate interventions to enhance Chinese immigrant women's health and healthcare. These include patient navigation/community health worker programs to promote self-management of healthcare and family-centered strategies for enhancing family social support structures and reducing family conflict.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)182-192
Number of pages11
JournalHealth Equity
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2018


  • elderly
  • family health
  • immigrant health
  • qualitative research

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health(social science)
  • Health Information Management


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