About the Speaker

Dr. Shiau-Fang Chao

Dr. Chao’s research began with aging and mental health and with particular expertise in (a) disability in later life and its impact on depression and life satisfaction; (b) the roles of formal and informal support and their relative effectiveness in enhancing the mental health of older persons in Taiwan. Dr. Chao has been conducting research using longitudinal data analysis methods, and her works have been published in top-ranked journals in both gerontology and disability (e.g., The gerontologist, Journal of Gerontology: Social Sciences, Aging & Mental Health, and Journal of Intellectual Disability Research). Dr. Chao currently expands her interests to three directions. One is to investigate the effects of environmental factors on activity participation and emotional well-being of disabled older adults by adopting the International Classification of Functioning, Disability, and Health model. The second is to examine successful aging in the workplace among care attendants in long-term care facilities in order to develop more comprehensive strategies to sustain valuable aged workforce and to meet the caring needs of older individuals. The third is to integrate government administrative data of the health insurance, LTC program usages, tax records and adult protection services to explore the influences of long-term care needs and service use on elder abuse incidents and adult children’s labor market participation, using big data analytical methods.
Longitudinal investigation of environment profiles, transition in social participation patterns and depressive symptoms in older adults with disabilities
Social participation is considered a key determinant of successful and active aging. However, a handful of empirical studies have investigated the influence of environment on the social participation of community-dwelling older individuals with disabilities. Moreover, most existing literature uses cross-sectional data and only considers how physical or social environment affects the participation of certain type of activities. Thus, we investigated the longitudinal influences of environment profiles on change in social participation profile memberships between waves, and also on disabled older adults’ depressive symptoms in Taiwan. This research confirmed the ICF assumption and found that high facilitating environment related to high social participation, and also linked to fewer depressive symptoms. The associations were asserted both cross-sectional and longitudinal. Results of this study highlight the importance to recognize the heterogeneity in lifestyle of disabled older persons and offer insights into possible ways to sustain their current and future mental health through creating supportive environment for social participation.