About the Speaker

Dr. Yu-Chih Chen

Dr. Yu-Chih Chen’s research focuses on social determinants of healthy aging, with an emphasis on how economic, environmental, and social/productive behavioral factors shape well-being and health in later life. Multiple internal- (e.g., The University of Hong Kong [HKU] and the University Grants Committee [Hong Kong]) and external-grant institutions (e.g., CCKF [Taiwan] and Social Policy Institute [US]) have funded his research in the areas that examine the links between later-life health and factors of economic (e.g., wealth and financial capability), environment (e.g., physical and social environment), and productive engagement (e.g., working and employment). His work has been published in the leading journals in aging, including The Gerontologist, Aging & Mental Health, and Research on Aging. Currently, he is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Social Work and Social Administration at the HKU. Before joining HKU, he earned his PhD in Social Work from Washington University in St. Louis and Bachelor and Master in Social Work from National Taiwan University.
Neighborhood characteristics, activity engagement, and health among community-dwelling older adults
Activity engagement is central to many models of healthy aging. However, the mechanisms that connect activity participation and health are relatively understudied. Additionally, as individuals are embedded in the environment, older adults’ behavior and well-being are also shaped by the community and neighborhood contexts, such as physical and social environmental characteristics. Using publicly available secondary data from both the United States and China, this presentation focuses on the associations between activity engagement and physical and cognitive health as well as how neighborhood characteristics influence mental health. Findings suggest that physical, social, and cognitive engagement within the activities are important pathways connecting activity to health; the physical and social environment also influences older adults’ health. The evidence highlights the interplay across the environment, activity participation, and health in achieving healthy aging in later life.