Healthy aging of minority and immigrant populations: Resilience in late life

Katherine Kwong, Yan Du, Qingwen Xu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Resilience is argued to be relevant to healthy aging. However, resilience studies often fail to examine it in the context of community living. This study is to answer the following question: to what extent is resilience, which is constructed by minority older adults, a contributor to their health status? Through participant observations and interviews with 17 community-dwelling Asian and African American elders of New Orleans (age 60), this study (a) documents connectedness and social-economic resources among Asian and African American elders; (b) explores how race/ethnicity and immigration expeience shapes elders’ view of connectedness; and (c) describes elders’ perception of satisfactory health trajectory, given their capacity to mobilize health care resources. Findings in this study indicate that minority elders maintained engaging relationships with family members and communities. Elders in both populations rated their health status highly positive, appeared strengthened and resourceful, and demonstrated determination and flexibility. However, African American elders self-described more socialeconomic resources embedded in the community than their Asian peers, primarily because of their strong bonding with the neighborhood. Findings indicate that effective measures (i.e., culturally/community specific) to promote resilience (e.g., connectedness) are likely to have a positive effect on longevity. For minority/immigrant elders, resilience offers a strategy of coping with vulnerabilities. Their resilience seems to rely on culturally specific, collective community identity and resources, thus adding a valuable aspect to the conceptualization of resilience.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)136-144
Number of pages9
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 8 2015


  • Healthy aging
  • Minority and immigrant older adults
  • Trauma and resilience

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Nursing
  • Emergency Medicine
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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