Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Philosophy (MPHIL)


Social Sciences


Sociology and Social Policy

First Advisor

Prof. MOK Ka Ho Joshua

Second Advisor

Prof. CHIU Tuen Yi


The Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area has been developed by the Chinese central government since 2016. Driven by the development of the Greater Bay Area, the well-developed transportation has further provided chances for Hong Kong older people to reside in the mainland GBA cities. The relevant Hong Kong government departments have made a comparison showing that the number of Hong Kong older people (aged 65 and above) who are ageing in the Greater Bay Area of mainland China has increased to around 90,200 in 2019, a 33% increase from 2013. Given the most updated situation, these Hong Kong families with older parents ageing in the mainland GBA cities can be influenced by a series of preventive measures and it is no exception to assume that their intergenerational relations can be influenced. Unlike the current literature that focuses only on the intergenerational relationships among migrant or transnational families, this study adopts a qualitative approach to provide insights into intergenerational relationships in the unique China-Hong Kong cross-border context under the latest situation of the COVID-19 pandemic. With the adoption of intergenerational solidarity-conflict model, 23 in-depth interviews are conducted with Hong Kong cross-border older parents and their adult children, indicating with the influence of the public health, cross-border mobility, economic downturn, work policies and pandemic prevention policies, the COVID-19 pandemic influenced the intergenerational relations of these Hong Kong families in a certain degree, particularly in six aspects, including short-term living arrangement, filial expectations and obligations, intergenerational interactions and support, intergenerational intimacy and adherence to their values and beliefs. These Hong Kong families used a variety of coping strategies to maintain their intergenerational relations during the pandemic, including the usage of ICTs, ignoring or keeping silent, asking for help, reliance on filial beliefs, decreased expectations on filial obligations and providing emotional instead of instrumental care. Furthermore, this study indicated that the different aspects are interrelated because the six aspects of intergenerational solidarity are included in the intergenerational solidarity-conflict model. Moreover, the cross-border travel restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic have motivated the trend of older parents’ independent ageing in the mainland-Hong Kong cross-border context. Accordingly, this trend in the cross-border context reflects on the changing expectations of the Hong Kong cross-border older parents through lowering their expectations of filial obligations to their adult children and changing the intergenerational contract from expectations of reciprocity to being more independent in the pandemic era. Finally, the policy implications are indicated in this study.



Recommended Citation

Zhou, B. (2023). The Covid-19 crisis and intergenerational relations: The case of Hong Kong families with older parents ageing in the Greater Bay Area in Mainland China (Master's thesis, Lingnan University, Hong Kong). Retrieved from