Representations of Mental Health Among Middle‐Aged Urban Chinese Men

Xuan‐Wei Lu, Apurv Chauhan, Catherine Campbell

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Little is understood by the ideas that urban Chinese population holds about mental health. Insufficient research and recognition of mental illnesses, and a dearth of social resources for mental health support and promotion limit understandings of how daily life stresses restrict the quality of life of China's urban population. Drawing on in‐depth interviews with 15 middle‐age urban men, we map out men's accounts of how they battle to cope with the demands of everyday social, political, and familial pressures. The study reveals that the representations of mental health are shaped by notions of control over emotions, adherence to Confucian philosophy, familial obligations, and the need to demonstrate social obedience and conformity. Data also suggest that the participants represent stable family support along with healthy social interactions as important enabling factors of positive mental health, whereas pressures of modernity are regarded as significant disruptive factors in mental health. The theory of social representations guides the process as well as analytic interpretations of this research.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)384-399
JournalJournal of Community and Applied Social Psychology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 10 Feb 2015


  • China


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