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The Mental Health of Unemployed and Socially Isolated Middle-aged Men in Tin Shui Wai, Hong Kong

Chan, Chi Wai (2018) The Mental Health of Unemployed and Socially Isolated Middle-aged Men in Tin Shui Wai, Hong Kong. PhD thesis, University of Essex.

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Abstract

This study investigates the poor mental health of unemployed middle-aged men (with women as a reference for comparison) in Hong Kong, who were unemployed and isolated socially in what is officially described as a new town, Tin Shui Wai. The study also explores the different aspects of social capital that may improve mental health for middle-aged individuals, drawing on data from ten in-depth interviews with five men and five women, two focus groups with five men and six women and a survey using questionnaires completed by 188 men and 215 women. The results showed that men in the sample had poorer mental health than women. In particular, levels of depression and alcohol abuse were higher in the men than the women. By contrast, women in the sample manifested more anxiety than the men. The findings also showed that unemployment had more negative effects on men than on women, with the men having more free time but nothing to do, feeling stressed, going out less with family members, drinking more alcohol and so on. Drawing on theories of social capital (Lin et al. 1985, McKenzie 2006), I argue that the poor mental health among men was associated with weak social capital. The data showed that for both men and women, social capital could have a positive association with reducing depression and anxiety. In particular, for men, community networks and social support had a positive association with reducing depression and alcohol abuse. For women, group membership, community networks and social cohesion had a positive association with reducing depression and anxiety. Based on these findings, I suggest an approach that focuses on increasing social capital to promote mental health among men and women. The approach argues for the need to introduce policies and strategies to promote social capital at the community and individual level for men, and at the community level for women.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Mental Health, Social Capital, Men and Women
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences > Sociology, Department of
Depositing User: Chi Chan
Date Deposited: 12 Mar 2018 09:25
Last Modified: 12 Mar 2018 09:25
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/21556

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