An interesting phenomenon in immigrant spouses and elderly suicides in Taiwan

Ying Chieh Lai, I. Hui Chen, Nae Fang Miao, Yu Ling Hsiao, Hsien Chang Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Background Immigration is a global issue. Taiwan has a high proportion of immigrant spouses who take care of the aging parents-in-law at home mainly based on filial piety. Difficulties in communication in many aspects of daily life occur between the elderly and immigrant spouses, and result in the elderly becoming vulnerable and thus, influencing their psychological well-being. Although past studies demonstrated that due to cultural differences, employed foreign care providers negatively influenced elder care quality (e.g., care receipts’ health or mortality rates), no studies have explored whether immigrant spouses, as family caregivers, have any influence on elderly suicides due to cross cultural communication differences. Objective To address the above gap, this study was to examine the static relationship between immigrant spouses and elderly suicides. Method National-level authority data, comprising a 10-year longitudinal nationwide sample, were used. The number of immigrant spouses was treated as a proxy of cultural differences. Twelve models of outcomes with and without city- and time-fixed effects were conducted using panel data analysis. Results Descriptive statistics of the study variables are provided. The results revealed that overall the number of immigrant spouses had a positive correlation with suicides in older adults. Further, the gender of immigrant spouses had different impacts on elderly suicides. Conclusions This is the first study to examine relation between immigrant spouses and the elderly suicides. The study results provide another viewpoint of understanding of the role of immigrant spouses in elder care, while promoting elder-caregiver interactions for optimal elder health outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)128-132
Number of pages5
JournalArchives of Gerontology and Geriatrics
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2018


  • Culture differences
  • Elderly suicide
  • Immigrant spouses

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Ageing
  • Gerontology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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