A Descriptive Analysis of Religious Involvement Among Older Adults In Japan.
ABSTRACT The purpose of this study was to conduct a descriptive analysis of multiple dimensions of religion with data provided by a nationwide sample of older people in Japan. Six dimensions of religion were evaluated: Religious affiliation, involvement in formal religious organizations, private religious practices, the functions of prayer, belief in punishment by supernatural forces, and beliefs about the afterlife. In addition to describing these facets of religion for the sample as a whole, tests were also performed to see if they vary by age, sex, marital status, education, and whether older Japanese people live in rural or urban areas. The findings suggest that even though older people in Japan are not highly involved in formal religious institutions, they frequently engage in private religious practices. Moreover, the data reveal that while older people in Japan do not often endorse some religious beliefs (e.g., beliefs about the quality of the afterlife), they strongly adhere to others (e.g., beliefs about punishment by supernatural forces). Significant and fairly consistent variations by gender and rural versus urban residence were also observed across the measures of religiousness.