Helene H Fung

Helene H Fung
The Chinese University of Hong Kong | CUHK · Department of Psychology

PhD

About

192
Publications
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7,987
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August 2001 - present
The Chinese University of Hong Kong
Position
  • Professor (Full)

Publications

Publications (192)
Article
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Extending research on determinants of preparations for old age across adulthood, we examined the relationship between well-being, perceived control, and preparations for old age over time, along with variation in the strength of these relationships depending on domains of functioning, cultures, and age. We analyzed longitudinal data from the Ageing...
Article
Objective Aging attitudes have important consequences on functioning in later life. A critical question concerns whether such attitudes may bias perceptions of one’s own aging, with potentially negative effects on important outcomes. Method Using data from adults aged 30 – 85 yrs in Germany (n=623), Hong Kong (n=317), and the US (n=313), we examin...
Article
Objectives We investigated whether worrying about COVID-19 predict people’s engagement in aging preparation. Furthermore, we expected that this association would have culture- (i.e., Hong Kong, Germany) and domain-specific (i.e., finances, housing, care needs, connectedness, end-of-life) tendencies, as the culture and domains that are most severely...
Preprint
Conversational agents (CAs) have the great potential in mitigating the clinicians' burden in screening for neurocognitive disorders among older adults. It is important, therefore, to develop CAs that can be engaging, to elicit conversational speech input from older adult participants for supporting assessment of cognitive abilities. As an initial s...
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In this study, we investigated endorsement of two types of prescriptive views of aging, namely active aging (e.g., prescriptions for older adults to stay fit and healthy and to maintain an active and productive lifestyle) and altruistic disengagement (e.g., prescriptions for older adults to behave altruistically toward the younger generation by gra...
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Older adults are viewed as being vulnerable to COVID-19. Previous research revealed that individuals would internalize or dissociate with attitudes toward aging when they aged. In this study, data collected before the COVID-19 pandemic were compared with those collected during the pandemic to assess whether the pandemic might make older adults inte...
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Previous research has shown mixed results regarding the effects of doing housework. While some earlier studies have found no association between performing heavy housework and health, other studies have found various benefits of doing housework, including body leanness and lower mortality rate. This study examined the effects of housework on older...
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Coherence, purpose and significance were defined as the three facets of the presence of meaning in life (Martela & Steger, 2016). This study investigated the age differences in the three facets of meaning in life between younger and older adults. We recruited 241 younger adults (Mage=18.72, SD=1.50, 36.5% male) and 114 older adults (Mage=64.93, SD=...
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Older adults are considered more vulnerable under the COVID-19 pandemic. Nevertheless, the pandemic also highlights the social obligation of all individuals, young and old. We investigated whether older adults pursued more autonomy during the pandemic than did middle-aged adults, and the moderating effect of perceived social obligation. One hundred...
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Thinking about old age stereotypically affects one’s engagement in age-related behaviors and developmental regulation. We hypothesized that positive or negative aging stereotype (AS) would be associated with more or less aging preparation, while action-related thoughts and beliefs might exert influence thereon. We used the AAF online-study dataset...
Article
This study aimed to examine the therapeutic mechanism of the benefit-finding therapeutic (BFT) intervention that used cognitive reappraisal and alternative thinking to construct positive aspects of caregiving (PAC), in a cluster-randomized controlled trial for Alzheimer caregivers. Forty two caregivers received BFT, whereas 87 received psychoeducat...
Preprint
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Emotions change people’s time perception, which has been evidenced in children and younger adults. However, older adults, who cognitively process positive stimuli to a greater extent than negative and neutral stimuli (Carstensen & Mikels, 2005), had been neglected in most empirical studies examining the role of emotion played in time perception. Us...
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Objectives Intergenerational support between aging parents and adult children is important to the well-being of both groups, especially during public health emergencies. However, few previous studies have examined the effects of daily support between parents and children on their well-being during public health emergencies. To fill in this gap, we...
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Objectives: Curiosity, or the desire for novel information and/or experience, is associated with improved well-being and more informed decisions, which has implications on older adults' (OAs') adoption of novel technologies. There have been suggestions that curiosity tends to decline with age. However, it was rarely studied under specific contexts...
Article
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Objectives Optimistic bias refers to the phenomenon that individuals believe bad things are less likely to happen to themselves than to others. However, whether optimistic bias could vary across age and culture is unknown. The present study aims to investigate: 1) whether individuals exhibit optimistic bias in the context of COVID-19 pandemic; 2) a...
Article
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This study aimed to examine the underlying mechanism behind the association of age and intellectual curiosity. Previous studies generally showed a negative association between age and intellectual curiosity. To shed light on this association, we hypothesize that older adults become more selective in where they invest their curiosity compared with y...
Article
Background and Objectives Older adults might be less information-seeking in comparison to younger adults. Yet, when a crisis hits, rather than relying on only a few information sources, it is important for people to gather information from a variety of different sources. With more information sources, people are more likely to obtain a more realist...
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Meaning in life is an important element of psychological well-being. Intuitively, the search for meaning is associated with greater presence of meaning, but whether the relationship exists is met with mixed findings in the literature. The present studies aim to investigate the moderators of this relationship. Two studies, a one-month longitudinal s...
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Negative views of ageing can lower respect for older adults.Yet, negative views of ageing vary across cultures. Asian collectivistic cultures are assumed to respect older adults more than Western individualistic cultures do. However, recent empirical findings on this cross-cultural comparison have suggested that negative attitudes toward older peop...
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Older adults were found to be less involved in non-institutional political actions than younger people did, and our previous work found that self-relevance mediated this age difference. In this study, we attempted to replicate the finding in a real-life social movement. We recruited 1037 participants (aged 18-84) during the anti-extradition bill mo...
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Search for meaning (SFM) is associated with many well-being measures. The mechanism behind remains unclear. This study explores presence of meaning (POM) as a mediator to explain the association. While dialectical thinking in Eastern cultures values both process and outcome, oppositional thinking in Western cultures makes the two opposing. Since di...
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Emotional complexity is a construct that has attracted significant interest in the aging literature. It often refers to two aspects — the co-occurrence of positive and negative emotions and emotion differentiation (experiencing emotions with specificity). Emotional complexity is thought to increase with aging. However, recent research points to inc...
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Nostalgia is a self-conscious, bittersweet but predominantly positive and fundamentally social emotion. The regulatory model of nostalgia suggests that experiencing nostalgia can buffer against social threat (e.g. social exclusion) by providing individuals with sense of social connectedness (Sedikides, et al., 2015). In the current research, we pro...
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Previous studies suggested that the negative influence of belongingness deficit on wellbeing may be driven by an increase in negative emotion, but the age difference of this mediating effect is still uncertain. This study tested the mediating effect of negative emotion in the influence of relationship quality on depressive symptoms across age. Base...
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Is feeling curious a pleasant, anxious or mixed feeling experience? Dual process theory posits that curiosity results from an optimal level of knowledge gap anxiety. Yet, personal growth facilitation model suggests that people are intrinsically curious, which is associated with positive affects. While curiosity may be pleasant or anxious, it may al...
Article
Objectives. Attributing life changes to age represents a core marker of the subjective experience of aging. The aims of our study were to investigate views on aging as origins of age-related attributions of life changes, and to investigate the implications of these age-related attributions for personal control and life satisfaction. Method. Life...
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Engaging in aging preparatory activities that is perceived to be utile for oneself (e.g., to retain autonomy and independence) and for others (e.g., to retain a harmonious relationship with important others) may have a functional effect on one’s aging process. We examined how perceived self- and other-related utilities of aging preparatory activiti...
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The current study used a nationally representative sample to investigate how older adults in China with different socio-demographic characteristics proactively sought support when social support of different sources and types was available; and whether the pattern of social support seeking varied with age, gender and regions. We found that older ad...
Article
With global aging, it is crucial to understand how older adults and the process of aging are viewed by members of society. These attitudes can often influence how older adults are treated. Since the Journal of Gerontology was founded, we have gained increasing insights into attitudes toward aging, with several notable research developments, includi...
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Previous studies found that the association between valuing happiness and well-being could be mediated by interdependence, and such mediation differed across cultures. We hypothesize a similar disparity between younger and older generations within the same culture. To test this hypothesis, the current study assessed Chinese younger and older adults...
Article
Older adults spend much time in solitude (without social interaction), putting them at risk of loneliness, especially if aging outside their country of origin (e.g., Chinese immigrants to Canada). Yet, cultural contextual factors that may reduce loneliness in moments of solitude are poorly understood. This study sought to disentangle the roles of c...
Article
The age-related positivity effect might be driven by age differences in seeking emotional positivity or the meaning attached to positive information. To examine these two hypotheses, we recruited young and older Mainland Chinese adults to complete a recognition memory task, in which they viewed and recognized a series of pictures varying in emotion...
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Prior literature has debated over whether the age-related positivity effect, defined as older adults showing a greater bias in cognitive processing for positively over negatively valenced information relative to younger adults, is goal-driven. This study attempted to directly address this debate by disentangling the influences of valence alone and...
Article
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According to self-continuity model, older adults are less likely to distinguish between the present and future, relative to younger adults. This mixed method design study aims at examining whether older adults perceive future as an infinite extension of present (i.e. “time freeze”) and investigating whether it is associated with life satisfaction,...
Article
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Curiosity is commonly defined as “the desire for new information and experience.” While curiosity has been associated with numerous positive outcomes (e.g., improved well-being, better cognitive performance and longer life expectancy, some studies suggested that curiosity declined with age. However, very few studies actually attempt to examine why...
Article
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With population aging, many people can expect to spend 30 or more years in old age. The five papers included in this symposium aim at shedding light on whether and how to make plans for old age, using data from the “Aging as Future” Project. First, Park and Hess used data spanning across adulthood from Germany, Hong Kong and the USA to examine how...
Article
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We aimed to further investigate the linguistic-savings hypothesis (Chen, 2013) in the field of aging, which maintains that when languages grammatically divide the future and the present (e.g. English and Czech), speakers tend to behave less future-oriented than those speaking languages that do not mark future tense (e.g. German and Chinese). In the...
Article
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Being curious has various physical, social and psychological benefits. However, theories like the socioemotional selectivity theory suggest that information seeking goals tend to be overshadowed by emotionally meaningful goals with age. Personality and social psychology research also found consistent decline of curiosity in later adulthood. In cont...
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The present study investigates age-related changes in moral judgment. In particular, we examined both cognitive and affective dimensions of morality in contributing to moral punishment. One hundred and twenty participants (aged from 22 to 75) recruited from Mturk were presented with 10 moral transgression stories (e.g. lying, harming), and reported...
Article
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Previous studies usually found that older people are less politically engaged than younger adults, especially when considering political behavior other than voting. The current study extends the Selective Engagement hypothesis (Hess, 2014) to political engagement. 81 younger adults and 79 older adults rated 8 issues on self-relevance and their will...
Article
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Background: Given findings that generally support the benefits of information and communication technology (ICT) for older adults’ psychosocial adjustment, one might surmise that lonely older adults, who have a stronger need for psychological support, would reap more psychosocial benefits from ICT use. However, scant research has examined this view...
Article
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Meaning-management theory (MMT) suggests living a meaningful life leads to higher death acceptance. This paper investigates how generativity, i.e. the intention to bring benefits to the next generation, can affect death acceptance through achieving meaning in life (MIL). 343 participants in Hong Kong (aged 18-90) filled in a questionnaire as part o...
Article
Both the dynamic goal theory of marital satisfaction and the suffocation model of marriage argue that whether people are satisfied with their marriage largely depends on their marital goals. However, the lack of a validated measure has greatly limited empirical investigations about marital goals. The current study developed the Marital Goal Scale (...
Article
Objectives: Preparation for age-related changes has been shown to be beneficial to adjustment in later life. However, an understanding of the factors that influence such preparations is rather limited. This study examines whether perceived control and future-self views influence preparations for old age, and if this influence varies across ages, d...
Article
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Objectives: This study aims at contrasting the effects of limited future time perspective and mortality salience on goal prioritization across adulthood. Socioemotional selectivity theory (SST) argues that people increasingly prioritize emotionally meaningful goals when they perceive future time as more limited. Terror management theory (TMT) sugg...
Article
Objectives: To examine the longer-term effects of benefit-finding on caregivers' depressive symptoms (primary outcome), and global burden, role overload, psychological well-being, and positive aspects of caregiving (secondary outcomes). Method: 96 Hong Kong Chinese caregivers of relatives with Alzheimer's disease were randomly assigned to receiv...
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Objectives: Prior studies have found that as people age, they value low-arousal positive affect (LAP) to a greater extent and high-arousal positive affect (HAP) to a lower extent. We aimed to investigate whether actually achieving those ideal affects was related to better well-being outcomes, measured in terms of meaning in life. Methods: Using...
Article
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A growing body of research has documented positive outcomes of gratitude in personal and interpersonal domains. To uncover the dynamic process of gratitude and relational well-being, we examined the interplay of grateful disposition, grateful mood, and grateful expression in ongoing close relationships. Hong Kong Chinese couples (n = 100) participa...
Article
https://academic.oup.com/psychsocgerontology/advance-article/doi/10.1093/geronb/gbz049/5482535 Objectives This study investigated 1) whether the age-related enhancement in processing positive relative to negative emotional information happened at the early and/or late processing stages and 2) if the age-related positivity effect was modulated by c...
Article
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Positive emotions have been shown to shape individuals' reactions to intergroup conflicts, but the exact mechanism remains unknown. The current research hypothesizes that the impact of positive emotions would be moderated by dialectical thinking: beliefs about accepting contradiction and change. Experiencing positive emotions in an intergroup confl...
Article
Background: With global aging, robots are considered a promising solution for handling the shortage of aged care and companionships. However, these technologies would serve little purpose if their intended users do not accept them. While the socioemotional selectivity theory predicts that older adults would accept robots that offer emotionally mea...
Article
Background: Given findings that generally support the benefits of information and communication technology (ICT) for older adults’ psychosocial adjustment, one might surmise that lonely older adults, who have a stronger need for psychological support, would reap more psychosocial benefits from ICT use. However, scant research has examined this view...
Chapter
Cognitive processing of social and nonsocial information changes with age. These processes range from the ones that serve “mere” cognitive functions, such as recall strategies and reasoning, to those that serve functions that pertain to self-regulation and relating to others. However, aging and the development of social cognition unfold in differen...
Article
Objectives: Being alone is often equated with loneliness. Yet, recent findings suggest that the objective state of being alone (i.e. solitude) can have both positive and negative connotations. The present research aimed to examine (1) affective experience in daily solitude; and (2) the association between everyday affect in solitude and well-being....
Article
Objectives: Socioemotional selectivity theory (SST) contends that future time perspective is the central determinant of healthy older adults’ prioritization of emotional gratification. We have shown elsewhere that individuals with Alzheimer’s disease (AD) are disoriented to future time perspective. This study examined whether these same participant...
Article
Objectives Previous literature has consistently shown a positive association between negative self-perception of aging and mortality in middle-aged and older adults. However, two questions remain unsolved: 1) whether such association holds among very old people (i.e., the fourth age); and 2) the potential mediators that could contribute to the posi...
Presentation
Loneliness is a serious threat to mental and physical health for older people around the globe; it is also a multifaceted phenomenon. Using varied methodological approaches and sampling from North America, Europe, and Asia, the papers in this symposium examine the circumstances that give rise to loneliness in old age, the implications of loneliness...
Article
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Whether older adults are more willing to donate money or time than younger adults is still under debate. In the current study, we investigated the age differences in donation willingness across different relationship and social distance. Eighty-nine younger and sixty-six older adults took part in a hypothetical donation task in which they were aske...
Article
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Since older adults are motivated to seek emotional meaning, social activities that harness this motivation may encourage lonely older adults to engage with others. We examined whether an 11-week intervention comprising meaningful activities (visiting historically and culturally significant sites and doing group-based reminiscence activities) can in...
Article
The detrimental effects of loneliness has been well-established. Yet, lonely individuals with motivation to seek information and take actions (i.e., with curiosity) may experience reduced negative effect of loneliness. Previous studies demonstrated the association between loneliness and negative emotions, but did not examined its age difference nor...
Presentation
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Older adults spend a lot of time in solitude (without social interaction), increasing their risk of loneliness, especially if they have immigrated. Yet, older adults sometimes seek solitude. This study examines how culture, immigration, acculturation, and solitude desire shape solitude-loneliness associations. Local and immigrant adults aged 50–85...
Article
Background and objective: The study aimed to identify how structural and cognitive aspects of social capital were associated with cognitive health among community-dwelling older adults. In addition, the mediation pathways and the moderating role of age were investigated. Research design and methods: Data from two community-based cohort studies of o...
Article
With increases in life expectancy, many people can expect to spend one quarter or even one third of their life in old age. Yet, although preparation for retirement has become increasingly common, preparation for old age, in areas such as housing and care, leisure activities, social relationships, finance, and death and dying, is less well understoo...
Article
Global aging poses increasing demand on the practice of death preparation. This study investigates cultural differences in death preparation. 240 participants from Hong Kong (aged 36–86), 159 from Germany (aged 19–83), and 97 from the United States (aged 26–84) completed two longitudinal surveys on death preparation, death acceptance, and religious...
Article
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Studies on socioemotional selectivity theory have found that compared with younger adults, older adults are more likely to (a) prefer to interact with emotionally close social partners and (b) show preferential cognitive processing of positive relative to negative stimuli. To integrate these 2 lines of findings, this study examined attention toward...
Article
Previous research has shown that American culture places a premium on excitement, enthusiasm, and other high-arousal positive states (HAP) compared with various East Asian cultures. In two studies, we tested the prediction that valuing HAP would be associated with less positive personal views of old age (i.e., fewer things people looked forward to...
Article
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Background and Objectives: Information-seeking (IS) and emotion-regulatory (ER) motivation play meaningful roles in age-related changes in social interaction across adulthood. This study aims to develop and validate the Social Motivation Questionnaire (SMQ) to assess these two types of motivation. Research Design and Methods: Ten items were selecte...
Article
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Prior studies have found mixed results regarding whether there are cultural differences in the age-related positivity effect, defined as older adults showing a greater bias in cognitive processing for positively over negatively and neutrally valenced information relative to younger adults. This study attempted to address this controversy by examini...
Article
Full-text available
Measuring the human sense of place and quantifying the connections among the visual features of the built environment that impact the human sense of place have long been of interest to a wide variety of fields. Previous studies have relied on low-throughput surveys and limited data sources, which have difficulty in measuring the human perception of...
Presentation
Full-text available
Background: Meaning in life is an important element to a good life and is associated with numerous benefits. Intuitively, the Search for meaning in life should be associated with greater Presence of meaning, but the relationship is weak to nonexistent in the literature. The present study aims to investigate the moderators of this relationship. Met...
Article
Do cultural differences in emotion play a role in employment settings? We predicted that cultural differences in ideal affect—the states that people value and ideally want to feel—are reflected in: (a) how individuals present themselves when applying for a job, and (b) what individuals look for when hiring someone for a job. In Studies 1–2 ( N <sub...
Article
Research on cross-national differences in views on aging has often focused on a comparison between Asian and Western countries. However, the results are mixed showing either more positive views in Asia, no difference at all or even more positive views in Western countries. A potential moderator of country differences that might explain some of the...
Article
While significant research has demonstrated that people’s beliefs about a group shape how they judge members of that group, few studies have examined whether people’s beliefs and values regarding emotion (their “ideal affect”) shape how they socially judge people’s emotional facial expressions. We predicted that the more people valued and ideally w...
Article
Objectives: Preparation for age-related changes is a central task in midlife and older age and a determinant of functioning and well-being in later life. If and how people prepare is influenced by societal and institutional circumstances and also by beliefs about aging and the future. Method: We assessed domain-specific preparation for age-relat...