Intimacy as a Distinct Construct: Validating the Intimacy Scale among Older Adults of Residential Care Homes in Hong Kong

Wallace C.H. Chan*, Siu M. To, Karen L.Y. Wong
Department of Social Work, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, Hong Kong.

© 2015 Chan et al

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: This license permits unrestricted use, distributin, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the 4/F, T.C. Cheng Building, United College, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, Hong Kong; Tel: [852]39431518; Fax: [852] 26035018; E-mail:



Intimacy is a construct that has received limited attention in the Chinese context. This study aimed to validate the Intimacy Scale among older adults in residential care homes in Hong Kong.


Seventy-eight Chinese older adults were invited to respond to the Chinese version of the scale and other measurements validating the scale.


The scale demonstrated good internal consistency and item-total correlation. Correlations supported the construct validity of the scale: significant positive correlations were found between perceived intimacy with the family caregiver and life satisfaction, presence of meaning and perceived family support. No correlation was found between intimacy and frequency of the family caregiver’s visit.


We found the Intimacy Scale to be a valid measurement for assessing the quality of the relationship between older adults and family caregivers in the Hong Kong Chinese context. Assessing how older adults perceive the level of intimacy with family caregivers is important for helping professionals when working with older adults and their family members.

Keywords: Caregiver, Chinese, elderly, family, intimacy, relationship.