Social Integration and Healthy Aging in Japan: A Longitudinal Study

Kimiko Tanaka, Rochester Institute of Technology

The current study used the 1999 wave of the Nihon University Japanese Longitudinal Study of Aging to measure intrafamilial and extrafamilial social integration scores for people aged 65-plus, and their self-ranked health reported in follow-up interviews in 2001. An innovation was the usage of ordinal logit regressions of this ordinally-measured dependent variable on the two dimensions of social integration. Higher scores on each dimension of social integration in 1999 predicted more favorable rankings on self-rated health scores in 2001. The four conclusions of this study are: (1) the relationship between social integration and self-rated health did not vanish during the “lost decade” of the 1990s; (2) the relationship is causal; (3) both intrafamilial and extrafamilial dimensions of social integration cause more favorable rankings of self-perceived health; and (4) the role-enhancement perspective is more useful than the role-strain perspective in understanding the relationship of social integration to health.

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Presented in Poster Session 5