The impacts of dwelling conditions on older persons’ psychological well-being in Hong Kong: the mediating role of residential satisfaction
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About 11% of Hong Kong's population of 7 million people are aged 65 and over and many of them live in old urban areas. Many of these areas have been subjected to urban redevelopment and some of the residents have been relocated to newer estates in peripheral new towns. Previous studies have focused on the challenges the urban environment has placed on older persons in terms of capability to cope with the demands that the environment places upon them. This paper suggests that dwelling conditions can act as stressors and become contributing factors that impact on older persons' residential satisfaction and psychological well-being (subjective well-being). This study examines the role of residential satisfaction (satisfaction with dwelling unit, estate and district) in mediating the effects of dwelling conditions (interior environment and exterior environment) on psychological well-being. A sample of older persons was recruited from a sampling frame of 16 urban sub-areas located in old urban areas and new towns. 518 older persons (224 males, 294 females) aged 60 and over were interviewed and the findings indicated that residential satisfaction was determined by assessment of both the interior environment and the exterior environment, although these were appraised differently. The interior environment had a greater impact on residential satisfaction than the exterior environment. It appeared that environmental dwelling conditions mainly affected older persons' psychological well-being indirectly and, hence, probably influenced their opportunities for successful ageing. However, subsequent tests revealed that dwelling conditions had no direct impact on psychological well-being. In light of these findings, it is proposed that the role of environmental factors and their relation to older persons' psychological well-being depends on the extent to which a person's expectations of residential satisfaction are met. Some implications of these findings for local housing and social care policy are discussed.
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