Social isolation imposes risks to an individual’s psychological well-being. However, few studies have examined the role of resilience on these associations among older Chinese Americans, the fastest-growing aging population across all racial/ethnic groups in the United States. We aim to examine the associations of social isolation with indicators of psychological well-being and the mediating role of resilience in these associations.
Data were derived from 398 Chinese older adults aged over 55 residing in Honolulu, Hawaii, in 2018. Psychological well-being was measured by psychological distress, life satisfaction, and happiness. Multivariate linear regressions and ordered logistic regressions were conducted.
Social isolation was positively associated with psychological distress and negatively associated with life satisfaction and happiness (all p < 0.05). By contrast, resilience was associated with lower levels of psychological distress and higher levels of life satisfaction and happiness (all p < 0.05). Moreover, the findings supported our hypothesis that resilience mediated the association between social isolation and psychological well-being. With regard to social isolation, resilience contributed to 32.0% of its association with distress, 24.9% of the association with life satisfaction, and 16.3% of the association with happiness.
Our findings revealed a significant association between social isolation and psychological well-being and the mediating role of resilience in the association of older Chinese Americans in Hawaii. The study findings expand our understanding of psychological resources in older Chinese Americans and emphasize the importance of developing intervention programs to foster social connection and resilience among an understudied population.