Resilience and depressive symptoms in mainland Chinese immigrants to Hong Kong

Xiaonan Yu, Sunita M. Stewart, Iris K F Liu, Tai Hing Lam

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


Purpose: Immigrants are highly vulnerable to the development of psychological problems such as depressive symptoms, which calls for further study of immigration in the Eastern context. Identification of factors that protect against depressive symptoms would inform interventions to enhance immigrant adaptation. Methods: This survey recruited 1,205 individuals who are adult immigrants from mainland China to Hong Kong. The Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9) was used to screen them for depressive symptoms. Participants also completed assessments for acculturative stress, discrimination and rejection, and personal and family resilience. Results: The results showed that participants reported considerable depressive symptoms. After controlling for socio-demographic characteristics, acculturative stress, and discrimination and rejection, personal resilience was associated with fewer depressive symptoms. Family resilience added significant explanation of variance to predict depressive symptoms over and above the individual variables, including personal resilience. Conclusions: Our findings draw attention to the role of resilience as a protective factor against mental distress when facing adversities, while highlighting the central importance of family as an emotional resource for immigrant adjustment in the Chinese context. As personal resilience can increase with interventions, our results can inform trials to enhance adaptation among mainland Chinese immigrants in Hong Kong.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)241-249
Number of pages9
JournalSocial Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2014


  • Chinese
  • Depressive symptoms
  • Family resilience
  • Immigrants
  • Personal resilience

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Health(social science)
  • Social Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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