Date of Award


Document Type

Campus Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Jan E. Mutchler

Second Advisor

Jeffrey A. Burr

Third Advisor

Voon Chin Phua


The purpose of this study is to explore the relationship between disability and living arrangements among Asian older adults in the United States. Disabled older adults need special attention, not only because they may be in need of in-home care and/or institutional care, but also because it is a challenge to utilize institutional care as well as in-home care such as that provided by a paid service without adapting to American society (e.g., a language barrier may limit service accessibility). Particular attention is given to cultural factors (e.g., ethnicity) and indicators of adaptation (e.g., date of immigration, age at immigration, English language ability, and citizenship status), as these background features are important determinants of living arrangements in later life. This study compares six Asian ethnic groups (Chinese, Indian, Korean, Filipinos, Vietnamese, and Japanese), as a majority of older Asians are from one of these six countries. The data from the 2000 5% Public Use Microdata Sample (PUMS) are analyzed to identify the characteristics of Asian older adults' living arrangements. Given the paucity of research on Asian ethnic group variations based on marital status, this study analyzes singles and couples separately. The results suggest that the dimension of disability is critical for both singles and couples. The effects of ADL disability are opposite for singles and couples, and this pattern is repeated across Asian ethnic groups. This finding highlights the importance of measuring disability by its dimensions. In addition, the analyses of the interaction effect of timing of immigration and disability status among singles show that the difference between disabled and nondisabled is minimal within the immigrant population and, that regardless of disability, older single immigrants are less likely to live alone than nondisabled U.S.-born. It is important to be aware of the Asian ethnic group variations in their living arrangements and to promote well-being of the disabled Asian older adults especially those who live alone.


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