Health  Vol.7 No.10 , October 2015
Comparison of Factors Related to Elderly People’s Purpose of Life in Japan and Thailand
Abstract: Purpose: In the present study, the features of “purpose of life” of elderly persons in Japan and Thailand are clarified by focusing on this concept and its related factors, and through the comparison of the results of Japan and Thailand. Methods: The Japanese subjects consist of the elderly aged 60 or older. The Thai subjects consist of the elderly aged 60 or older who live in Thailand. A sum of 250 subjects (men and women) per country will be studied. They were asked about their individual attribution and maintenance of healthy condition. Moreover, 19 items were examined as events leading to life purpose. These items were measured using the Philadelphia Geriatric Center Morale Scale, General Health Questionnaire (GHQ) and Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADL). Results: Data from 200 elderly people (male: 67, female: 133) in Thailand and 234 elderly people (male: 49, female: 185) in Japan were used in the analysis. Regarding an “Events Leading to Life Purpose,” it was suggested that “activities to enhance learning and culture” and “neighbors and friends, and socializing with acquaintances” helped both in Japan and Thailand. Moreover, “elderly persons’ club activities” and “child” were effective in Thailand, while “spouse” and “grandchild” were effective in Japan. Moreover, Model 1 (event, disease → purpose of life → mental health, and IADL) that became purpose of life for both countries was adopted. Conclusion: In order to improve older adults’ mental health and ADL by improving “purpose of life”, it is required to increase the events leading to life purpose and to prevent illness for both countries. In particular, “activities to enhance learning and culture” and “neighbors and friends, and socializing with acquaintances” was the activity which raises “purpose of life”. Then, “elderly persons’ club activities” and “child” were effective in Thailand, while “spouse” and “grandchild” were effective in Japan.
Cite this paper: Ohue, T. , Rujkorakarn, D. , Suwannimitr, A. , Aryamuang, S. and Meethien, N. (2015) Comparison of Factors Related to Elderly People’s Purpose of Life in Japan and Thailand. Health, 7, 1337-1351. doi: 10.4236/health.2015.710148.

[1]   UNFPA and Help Age International (2012) Ageing in the Twenty-First Century: A Celebration and a Challenge. 21-23.

[2]   Oizumi, K. (2007) Oiteyuku Asia, Chuko Shinsho. Tokyo. (In Japanese)

[3]   Global Age Watch Index (2014) Insight Report Published by Help Age International.

[4]   Croissant, A. (2004) From Transition to Defective Democracy. Mapping Asia Democratization. Democratization, 11, 156-178.

[5]   Cabinet Office of Japan (2008) White Paper on the National Lifestyle 2008. Prospects for Consumer Citizenship toward a Comfortable and Mature Society.

[6]   Mori, S. (2000) Koureisha no ikigai (Ikigai for the Elderly). The Annuals of Sociology, 41, 15-29. (In Japanese)

[7]   Egami, W. (2000) The Family, Community and Ikigai (Reason(s) for Living) in Elderly People. The Annuals of Sociology. Shakaigaku nenshi, 41, The Waseda Sociological Society.

[8]   Sugiwara, H. and Akiyama, H. (2001) Social Participation of Older Adults in the Workplace and in the Community— A Comparison of Japan and the United States. The monthly Journal of the Japan Institute of Labour, 43, 20-29.

[9]   Takahashi, Y. and Wada, S. (2001) Sociology of Meaning of Life, What Is the Happiness in an Aged Society? Kobundo, Tokyo. (In Japanese)

[10]   Kamiya, M. (1980) On the Meaning of Life in Japanese. Misuzu Shobo, Tokyo.

[11]   Koyano, W. (1983) Effect of Social Activity upon Morale in the Elderly. Journal of Social Gerontology, 17, 36-49.

[12]   Larson, R. (1978) Thirty Years of Research on the Subjective Well-Being of Older Americans. Journal of Gerontology, 33, 109-125.

[13]   Maeda, D., Asano, H. and Taniguchi, K. (1979) Roujin no shukanteki koufukukan no kenkyu (Study ofPsychological Well-Being for the Elderly: The Trial of Measurement by a Morale Scale). Tokyo Metropolitan Institute of Gerontolog, 11, 15-31. (In Japanese)

[14]   Hasegawa, A., Fuji-wara, Y., Hoshi, T. and Shinkai, S. (2003) Regional Differences in Ikigai (Reason(s) for Living) in Elderly People—Relationship between Ikigai and Family Structure, Physiological Situation and Functional Capacity. Japanese Journal of Geriatrics, 40, 390-396.

[15]   Hasegawa, A., Fujiwara, Y. and Hoshi, T. (2001) The Review of Ikigai on the Relationship of Ikigai and Well-Being in the Elderly. Comprehensive Urban Studies, 75, 147-170.

[16]   Lawton, M.P. (1975) The Philadelphia Geriatric Center Morale Scale: A Revision. Journal of Gerontology, 30, 85-89.

[17]   Okuzumi, H., Furuna, T., Nishizawa, S. and Sugiura, M. (2000) Relationship between Magnitude of Body Sway and Competence in Older Persons Living in a Community. Equilibrium Research, 59, 130-135.

[18]   Golderberg, D. and Williams, P. (1988) A User’s Guide to the General Health Questionnaire. NFER-Nelson, Windsor.

[19]   Niiro, M. and Mori, T. (2001) Investigation of the Reliability and Validity of the Japanese Version of General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-12) (Japanese). Seishin Igaku, 43, 431-436.

[20]   Nilchaikovit, T., Sukying, C. and Silpakit, C. (1996) Reliability and Validity of the Thai Version of the General Health Questionnaire. Journal of the Psychiatric Association of Thailand, 41, 2-17.

[21]   Lawton, M.P. and Brody, E.M. (1969) Assessment of Older People: Self-Maintaining and Instrumental Activities of Daily Living. The Gerontologist, 9, 179-186.

[22]   Kondo, T. and Kamada, J. (2004) The Sex and Age Differences in the Determinants of the Feeling That Life Is Worth Living among the Aged. Japanese Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 15, 1281-1290.

[23]   Yamashita, T., Kondo, K., Tanaka, T., et al. (2001) Sisetu koureisha no ikigai to QOL no kanren ni tuite (The Relation of Institution Elderly People’s Purpose of Life and QOL). Journal of Health and Welfare Statistics, 48, 12-19.

[24]   Harada, T., Kato, K., Oda, Y., Uchida, H. and Ohno, T. (2011) Daily Habits of the Elderly (II): Recreational Activities and Feeling of Life. Journal of Nagoya Bunri University, 11, 27-33.

[25]   Cabinet Office, Government of Japan (2008) White Paper on the National Lifestyle in Japanese [Kokumin Seikatsu Hakusho]. Cabinet Office, Government of Japan, Tokyo.

[26]   Sugiyama, Y., Fukui, I., Takekawa, T. and Inada, H. (1998) Rounenki no shakaitekiou ni eikyousuru sin-ritekiyouin (The Psychological Factor Influencing the Social Adaptation in Old Age). Japanese Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 9, 364-371. (In Japanese)

[27]   Othaganont, P., Sinthuvorakan, C. and Jensupakarn, P. (2002) Daily Living Practice of the Life-Satisfied Thai Elderly. Journal of Transcultural Nursing, 13, 24-29.

[28]   Buraskorn, T. and Soparth, P. (2013) Impact of the Elderly Club on the Social Well-Being of the Rural Elderly in the Northeastern Region of Thailand. Article First Published Online, 11.

[29]   Yagi, T., Takauchi, H. and Ito, M. (1991) Meaning of Life and Sport of Elderly People Living in Kyoto, Japan. Report of Research Center in Physical Education, 19, 212-217. (In Japanese)

[30]   Nobe, M. (1999) The Sense of Well-Being of Elderly Women in a Medium-Size Japanese City. Sociological Theory and Methods, 14, 105-123. (In Japanese)

[31]   Koyano, W. (1992) Dantiroujin niokeru moraru to shakaikannkei (Morale and Social Relationship in the Elderly People Who Live in a Housing Complex—The Moderate Effects of the Existence of a Gender and a Spouse). Tokyo Metro-politan Institute of Gerontology, 35, 3-9. (In Japanese)

[32]   Sugii, J. and Motomura, H. (1992) A Study on the Subjective Well-Being of Elderly—In Relation to the Structural Components of the Family System. Japanese Journal of Family Sociology, 4, 53-65. (In Japanese)

[33]   Maeda, N. (1988) Ronen-ki no yujin kankei (Friendships in Old Age). Social Gerontology, 28, 58-70. (In Japanese)

[34]   Thanakwang, K., Ingersoll-Dayton, B. and Soonthorndhada, K. (2012) The Relationships among Family, Friends, and Psychological Well-Being for Thai Elderly. Aging & Mental Health, 16, 993-1003.

[35]   Knodel, J. and Chayouan, N. (2008) Population Ageing and the Well-Being of Older Persons in Thailand. Population Studies Center Research Report 08-659.

[36]   Zimmer, Z. and Amornsirisomboon, P. (2001) Socioeconomic Status and Health among Older Adults in Thailand: An Examination Using Multiple Indicators. Social Science & Medicine, 52, 1297-1311.

[37]   Knodel, J. and Chayovan, N. (2009) Older Persons in Thailand: A Demographic, Social and Economic Profile. Ageing International, 33, 3-14.

[38]   United Nations (2012) Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division “Population Ageing and Development”.

[39]   Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (2013) Outline of Health, Labour and Welfare Statistics in Japan. Statistics and Information Department Minister’s Secretariat Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, 27.

[40]   National Institute of Population and Social Security Research 2011, National Institute of Population and Social Security Research in Japan (2015) The Financial Statistics of Social Security in Japan FY2012. (In Japanese)

[41]   Robert, W.M., Edward, M., Erin, M.S. and Rachael, C.G. (2009) Physical Activity and Quality of Life in Multiple Sclerosis: Intermediary Roles of Disability, Fatigue, Mood, Pain, Self-Efficacy and Social Support. Psychology, Health & Medicine, 14, 111-124.

[42]   Biddle, S.J.H. and Mutrie, N. (2008) Psychology of Physical Activity: Determinants, Wellbeing and Interventions. 2nd Edition, Routledge, London.

[43]   Elavsky, S., McAuley, E., Motl, R.W., Konopack, J.F., Marquez, D.X., Hu, L., et al. (2005) Physical Activity Enhances Long-Term Quality of Life in Older Adults: Efficacy, Esteem, and Affective Influences. Annals of Behavioral Medicine, 30, 138-145.

[44]   Aoki, K. (2015) Association among Personality Traits, Factors Related to Ikigai-Kan and Ikigai-Kan of the Elderly Living at Home. Archives of Yamaguchi Prefectural University, 8, 7-17. (In Japanese)

[45]   Koyano, W. (1996) Measurement Instruments for Quality of Life (2). Japanese Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 7, 431-441.

[46]   Maeda, M. and Sato, S. (2004) Tansin koureisha no kakaeru mondai(The Issue of Isolated Elderly People). Japanese Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 15, 162-168.