“Living a good life” from the perspectives of the Chinese migrants in Scotland

Caroline Cheng


The 2011 Census shows 34,000 Chinese people living in Scotland, making Chinese the second largest minority group residing in Scotland. Among them, the asylum and refugee population continue to be largely invisible in the service delivery in Glasgow, which has been the only dispersal area in Scotland since 1999. Remarkably little research has been carried out on the UK Chinese migrant community in the literature, and this study proposed to fill the gap of finding out the wellbeing of this population. The researcher investigated the factors contributing to the wellbeing of twenty-five Chinese migrants, who are either asylum seekers or refugees in Glasgow as the first stage of a wellbeing study, adopting the concepts from the “Wellbeing in Developing Countries” framework (White, 2008). The Indicators of Integration (Strang & Ager 2008) and the Social Capital Theory (Putnam 1995) were used as reference points to explore the understanding of well-being and social connections. Semi-structured interviews were conducted to find out the core constructs of wellbeing from the Chinese people’s perspectives and thematic analysis was used in data analysis. The top five themes that emerged were children’s education, employment and financial independence, health care, freedom of speech and association, and support from own ethnic group.


Chinese; Refugees; Migrants; Subjective well-being; Social connection

Full Text:



Ager, A., & Strang, A. (2008). Understanding integration: A conceptual framework. Journal of refugee studies, 21(2), 166-191.

Baxter, S. And Raw, G. (1988). Fast food, fettered work: Chinese women in the ethnic catering industry. Enterprising Women: Ethnicity, Economy, and Gender Relations. pp. 58.

Chau, R.C. & Yu, S.W., (2010). The sensitivity of United Kingdom health-care services to the diverse needs of Chinese-origin older people. Aging and Society. 30(3), 383-401.

Fulmer, C. A., Gelfand, M. J., Kruglanski, A. W., Kim-Prieto, C., Diener, E., Pierro, A., & Higgins, E. T. (2010). On “feeling right” in cultural contexts: How person-culture match affects self-esteem and subjective well-being. Psychological Science, 21(11), 1563-1569.

Furnham, A. & Li, Y.H. (1993). The psychological adjustment of the Chinese community in Britain. A study of two generations. The British Journal of Psychiatry, 162(1), 109-113.

Huang, S. & Spurgeon, A. (2006). The mental health of Chinese immigrants in Birmingham, UK. Ethnicity and Health, 11(4), 365-387.

Hsu, J. (1985). The Chinese family: Relations, problems, and therapy. Chinese culture and mental health, 95-112.

Kawachi, I., & Berkman, L. F. (2001). Social ties and mental health. Journal of Urban health, 78(3), 458-467.

Kawachi, I., & Subramanian, S. V. (2007). Neighbourhood influences on health. Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, 61(1), 3-4.

Lam, T., Sales, R. A., D'Angelo, A., Lin, X., & Montagna, N. (2009). The changing Chinese community in London: new migration, new needs. Project Report. Middlesex University: School of Health and Social Sciences, London.

Lo, L., & Chen, Y. W. (2014). A reflection on and proposal for current social support for Chinese migrant workers in the UK. Cambridge Journal of China Studies, 9(2), 1-7.

Putnam, R. D. (1995). Bowling alone: America’s declining social capital. Journal of democracy, 6(1), 65-78.

Quiroga, J., & Jaranson, J. M. (2005). Politically-motivated torture and its survivors. Torture, 15, 2-3.

Scotland’s Census (2011). Standard Outputs. Retrieved February 19, 2018, from http://www.scotlandscensus.gov.uk/ods-web/standard-outputs.html

Strang, A., Baillot, H., & Mignard, E. (2015). Insights into integration pathways: new Scots and the Holisitic Integration Service. Scottish Refugee Council, Glasgow.

Steel, Z., Silove, D., Phan, T., & Bauman, A. (2002). Long-term effect of psychological trauma on the mental health of Vietnamese refugees resettled in Australia: a population-based study. The Lancet, 360(9339), 1056-1062.

Tran, T. V., Manalo, V., & Nguyen, V. T. (2007). Nonlinear relationship between length of residence and depression in a community-based sample of Vietnamese Americans. International Journal of Social Psychiatry, 53(1), 85-94.

White, S. C. (2008, April). But what is well-being? A framework for analysis in social and development policy and practice. In Conference on regeneration and wellbeing: research into practice, University of Bradford (Vol. 2425).


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Transnational Press London

Copyright © 2011-2016 Border Crossing / Transnational Press London | All rights reserved | Contact Us