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5.5 Social policy
O5-5.3 Physical and mental health, social relationships, social capital, and happiness among Japanese older adults
  1. H Imai1,
  2. N Kondo2,
  3. K Kondo3
  1. 1Yamanashi Gakuin University, Kofu, Yamanashi, Japan
  2. 2University of Yamanashi, Chuo, Yamanashi, Japan
  3. 3Nihon Fukushi University, Nagoya, Aichi, Japan

Abstract

Introduction The purpose of this study was to examine the roles of physical and mental health on determining happiness for Japanese older adults, accounting for other individual and psychosocial factors.

Materials and Methods We used the data of Aichi Gerontological Evaluation Study, undertaken in adults aged ≥65 years who were not certified as Certification of Needed Long-Term Care. The number of participants was 29 546. In our 2-stage regression approach, we first estimated self-rated health using multiple variables for physical health status, including disease diagnosis, functional capacity, history of medication, body mass index, biting force, smoking, and alcohol intake, using a sex-separated ordered probit model. We then modelled happiness, measured using the PGC Morale Scale, with the estimated self-rated health and other independent variables representing mental health, socio-demographic characteristics (marital status, income, age, etc), psychosocial factors (hobby, social support, etc), and regional and individual social capital.

Results Among women, factors determining their happiness were physical health, mental health, income, age, frequency of going out, hobbies, trust of people from the local community, and general trust. Among men, factors determining their happiness were physical health, income, trust of people from the local community, and general trust. Physical health in these explanatory models was statistically significant but its effect was not large.

Conclusion Happiness may be a function of not only physical health but also mental health, as well as many individual social characteristics, including social participation and social capital. The contribution of mental health to happiness may be large.

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