UM and Fuhong Society of Macau’s study on needs of Chinese caregivers in Macao has great implications

Sit Hao Fong (2nd from left), Chau Wai I (middle), and Prof Brian Hall (2nd from right).

The Global and Community Mental Health Research Group of the University of Macau (UM) recently collaborated with the Fuhong Society of Macau, a nonprofit social service organisation, on a study on the caregiving burden and mental health condition of Chinese caregivers of people with intellectual and mental disabilities in Macao.

The study interviewed 234 caregivers with a family member diagnosed with intellectual or mental disabilities, and found 31.7% of them reported moderate to severe depressive symptoms and 46.6% reported moderate to severe anxiety symptoms. Caregiving difficulty, caregiving burden, and lack of adequate financial support are key correlates of these disorders. The findings have important implications for informal caregivers, community service providers, and policymakers. Policies formulated based on these findings are expected to create better support for caregivers in the local community. The study was recently accepted for publication in the British Journal of Health Psychology.

This project has demonstrated a successful model in which local nonprofit social service organisations, community stakeholders, and UM academics can work together to conduct consequential research aimed at improving the welfare of the local community. The research group appreciates Fuhong Society of Macau’s effort to initiate the caregiver project based on the needs of their service users. Members of the group say they felt honoured to be a part of this meaningful work.

Authors of the study include Sit Hao Fong, a first-year PhD student in the Department of Psychology and a member of the Global and Community Mental Health Research Group of UM under Prof Brian Hall’s supervision; Huang Lei, a graduate from UM’s Department of Sociology and a current student of epidemiology in the Master of Public Health Programme at the Jockey Club School of Public Health, Chinese University of Hong Kong; Chau Wai I, director of Fuhong Society of Macau; as well as associate professors Kay Chang and Brian Hall in the department. Prof Hall is also the director of the Global and Community Mental Health Research Group.

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