Impacts of residential relocation on stress, coping and quality of life among older persons in Hong Kong

  • Siu Pan, Benny CHAN

Student thesis: MPhil Thesis (Lingnan)


Residential relocation could potentially be injurious to older persons. Indeed, much of the research literature in Western societies points out that involuntary residential relocation may exert undesirable impacts on older persons’ lives. Those impacts could be even greater if the relocation was forced upon the individual one person. Therefore, the purpose of this research is to investigate the impacts of involuntary residential relocation on older persons’ quality of life, stress and coping in Hong Kong. From a review of the literature, it was hypothesized that there will be perceived stress during and after the process of residential relocation, and satisfaction with relocation arrangement and quality of elderly life are related.

This research method adopted was a one-shot group pretest-posttest experimental design with a panel study, having the dual purposes of explanation and description. Structured and semi-structured questionnaires were used to collect quantitative data and qualitative data in order to test the hypotheses, and provide subsequent policy information for the service and care providers. A total of 85 and 74 older persons were interviewed in the pretest (male=19 and female=66) and the posttest (male=15 and female=59) respectively. They were recruited from two public housing estates: Valley Road Estate and Ho Man Tin Estate, and almost all of them were finally relocated to Ho Man Tin South, effectively a relatively short-distance intra-urban relocation.

Most of the hypotheses of the study could be supported. The findings indicate that the respondents perceived stress from the relocation and associated financial strains from the costs. The greatest stress they faced was the processes before the actual move. Moreover, the results also revealed that their quality of life, both in the pretest and posttest studies, was statistically and significantly correlated to their stress, coping strategies and satisfaction with the existing housing. In addition, more than half of the respondents expressed the view that the non-government organizations gave them the greatest help or assistance in this stressful life event. Nonetheless, the respondents showed that they experienced higher levels of stress and lower satisfaction with new estate after the move in spite of the objectivity better living conditions. They also indicated that they had a lower quality of life and poorer coping strategies after the move. Thus, it appears that residential relocation is not generally favorable for successful ageing.

Furthermore, the female respondents and older persons who lived alone reported that they experienced more problems in the move than other respondents. The older residents from Valley Road Estate had greater satisfaction with the new housing than those from Ho Man Tin Estate perhaps because their residential environmental improvement were greater, offsetting some stresses of the move. Last but not least, some constructive suggestions were offered to all players, including the Housing Authority, the NGOs, the older persons and their families.
Date of Award2001
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Department of Sociology and Social Policy
SupervisorDavid Rosser PHILLIPS (Supervisor) & Oi Ling SIU (Supervisor)

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