[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: A growing number of studies have addressed how social capital is closely related to an individual’s perceived happiness. However, most happiness studies have focused on individual-level social capital, which is based on an individual’s subjective assessment of social capital gathered from social surveys. Considering that social capital was originally a collective concept, this study distinguished individual- and area-level aspects of social capital and their relationships in terms of their associations with perceived happiness. To this end, we employed multilevel mediation analysis using cross-sectional microdata from a nationwide Internet survey conducted in Japan (N = 9523). We focused on four types of social capital: trust in neighbors, contacts with neighbors, bonding, and bridging. Based on the estimation results, we first confirmed that social capital at both the individual and area levels had a positive association with perceived happiness when using them separately as an independent variable. Second, we found that a substantial portion of the effect of area-level social capital on perceived happiness was mediated by individual-level social capital. This suggests that an individual’s commitment to area-level social capital is required if a large portion of its potential benefits on perceived happiness are to materialize. Furthermore, we observed that the effects of area-level bonding and bridging on their individual-level measures were affected by several individual-level attributes, including personality traits. Overall, the results underscore the need for further investigation into the association between perceived happiness and social capital at different levels.
No preview · Article · May 2016 · Journal of Happiness Studies
[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: Objective:
We examined the association between job stress and leisure-time physical inactivity, adjusting for individual time-invariant attributes.
We used data from a Japanese occupational cohort survey, which included 31 025 observations of 9871 individuals. Focusing on the evolution of job stress and leisure-time physical inactivity within the same individual over time, we employed fixed-effects logistic models to examine the association between job stress and leisure-time physical inactivity. We compared the results with those in pooled cross-sectional models and fixed-effects ordered logistic models.
Fixed-effects models showed that the odds ratio (OR) of physical inactivity were 22% higher for those with high strain jobs [high demands/low control; OR 1.22, 95% confidence interval (95% CI) 1.03-1.43] and 17% higher for those with active jobs (high demands/high control; OR 1.17, 95% CI 1.02-1.34) than those with low strain jobs (low demands/high control). The models also showed that the odds of physical inactivity were 28% higher for those with high effort/low reward jobs (OR 1.28, 95% CI 1.10-1.50) and 24% higher for those with high effort/high reward jobs (OR 1.24, 95% CI 1.07-1.43) than those with low effort/high reward jobs. Fixed-effects ordered logistic models led to similar results.
Job stress, especially high job strain and effort-reward imbalance, was modestly associated with higher risks of physical inactivity, even after controlling for individual time-invariant attributes.
No preview · Article · Feb 2016 · Scandinavian Journal of Work, Environment & Health
[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: Background
The experience of childhood poverty has a long-lasting, adverse impact on physical health outcomes in adulthood. We examined the mediating effects of adult socioeconomic status (SES) and social support on the association between childhood poverty and adult health-risk behaviors.
Cross-sectional data collected from Japanese community residents (N = 3836) were used. A binary indicator of the experience of childhood poverty was constructed by utilizing retrospectively assessed standard of living at age 15 and a set of parental SES variables. The associations of childhood poverty with smoking, lack of exercise, poor dietary habits, and excessive drinking at the time of survey were examined by logistic regression analysis. A mediation analysis was conducted to estimate the magnitudes of the mediating effects of adult SES and social support on these associations.
Adult SES and social support together mediated 64.0, 29.4 and 30.6 % of the impacts of the experience of childhood poverty on smoking, lack of exercise, and poor dietary habits, respectively. Educational attainment had the largest mediating effect (58.2 %) on the impact of the experience of childhood poverty on smoking.
The results suggest that interventions and policies for supporting children living in poverty should aim to enhance their future SES and provide better social support, as this might improve their overall health.
Preview · Article · Dec 2015 · International Journal for Equity in Health
[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: It is well known that individual-level social capital is positively associated with health, but most preceding studies have not fully controlled for an individual's time-invariant attributes, especially unobserved ones. The current study attempted to address how the association between individual-level social capital and health is confounded by an individual's unobserved time-invariant attributes.
Data were collected from six-wave nationwide panel surveys conducted from 2005 to 2010, with 162 720 observations from 30 590 individuals. Individual-level bonding and bridging social capital, as well as their associations with self-rated health (SRH) and psychological distress (measured by Kessler 6 scores), were considered. Estimation results of cross-sectional, prospective cohort and fixed-effects logistic models were compared.
The OR of reporting poor SRH responding to high bonding social capital rose from 0.64 (95% CI 0.62 to 0.65) in the pooled cross-sectional model to 0.77 (0.75 to 0.80) in the prospective cohort model and 0.87 (0.82 to 0.92) in the fixed-effects model. Similar patterns were observed for bridging social capital, but the OR of reporting poor SRH became non-significant in the fixed-effects model. Similar results were obtained for psychological distress.
The results suggest that the association between individual-level social capital and health is overstated by an individual's unobserved time-invariant attributes. The relevance of health in individual-level social capital should be assessed cautiously.
Published by the BMJ Publishing Group Limited. For permission to use (where not already granted under a licence) please go to http://group.bmj.com/group/rights-licensing/permissions.
No preview · Article · Jul 2015 · Journal of epidemiology and community health
[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: The provision of informal nursing care can adversely affect a caregiver's mental health, but the dynamic association of the variables is still under debate. We examined how an informal caregiver's psychological distress is associated with prolonged caregiving.
We used data collected from a nationwide six-wave panel survey in Japan, with 25,186 observations of 9192 individuals. We focused on informal caregivers, who provided help and support for ill family members. We used Kessler 6 (K6) scores (range 0-24), where higher scores reflect higher levels of psychological distress. We employed mixed-effects models to examine how caregivers' psychological distress was associated with caregiving commencement and duration.
Commencement of caregiving raised the K6 score for female caregivers by 0.55 (equivalent to 0.12 SD, 95 % CI 0.34-0.75) and that for male caregivers by 0.41 (0.09 SD, 95 % CI 0.18-0.63). However, prolonged caregiving had gender-asymmetric, dynamic associations with psychological distress. One additional year of caregiving added 0.22 (0.05 SD, 95 % CI 0.10-0.35) to the K6 score of female caregivers, while it had no significant association for male caregivers. For female caregivers, prolonged caregiving was positively associated with K6 score entirely through its interaction effects with longer hours of care, co-residence with a care recipient, and the non-working status of a caregiver.
Results revealed a gender-asymmetric, dynamic association between informal care provision and caregivers' psychological distress. Additional policy measures targeted at caregivers deeply involved in in-house care are needed to reduce their distress.
No preview · Article · Jun 2015 · Quality of Life Research
[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: In the current study, we investigated how initial job status at graduation from school is associated with midlife psychological distress, using microdata from a nationwide Internet survey of 3,117 men and 2,818 women aged 30-60 years. We measured psychological distress using the Kessler 6 (K6) score (range: 0-24) and the binary variable of K6 score ≥5. We found that unstable initial job status substantially raised midlife K6 scores and the probability of a K6 score ≥5 for both men and women. Furthermore, our mediation analysis showed that for men, slightly less than 60% of the effect was mediated by current job status, household income, and marital status. For women, the effect of initial job status was somewhat lesser than that for men, and only 20-30% of it was mediated. Despite these gender asymmetries, the results indicated that initial job status was a key predictor of midlife mental health. The association between job status and mental health should be further investigated with special reference to the institutional attributes of the labor market and their socio-economic/demographic outcomes.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: IntroductionIt is well known that lower income is associated with poorer health, but poverty has several dimensions other than income. In the current study, we investigated the associations between multidimensional poverty and health variables.Methods
Using micro data obtained from a nationwide population survey in Japan (N¿=¿24,905), we focused on four dimensions of poverty (income, education, social protection, and housing conditions) and three health variables (self-rated health (SRH), psychological distress, and current smoking). We examined how health variables were associated with multidimensional poverty measures, based on descriptive and multivariable logistic regression analyses.ResultsUnions as composite measures of multiple poverty dimensions were more useful for identifying individuals in poor SRH or psychological distress than a single dimension such as income. In comparison, intersections of poverty dimensions reduced the coverage of individuals considered to be in poverty and tend to be difficult to justify without any explicit policy objective. Meanwhile, education as a unidimensional poverty indicator could be useful for predicting current smoking.Conclusions
Results obtained from the current study confirmed the practical relevance of multidimensional poverty for health.
Full-text · Article · Dec 2014 · International Journal for Equity in Health
[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: It is widely known that the mental health of middle-aged adults is closely associated with involvement in family caregiving, as well as socioeconomic and sociodemographic factors. However, most studies focusing on mental health in adulthood have not fully controlled for time-invariant factors. Moreover, the relative importance of factors associated with mental health has remained largely understudied. In the current study, we employed fixed-effects regression models to examine the manner in which middle-aged adults' mental health is associated with involvement in family caregiving and socioeconomic and sociodemographic factors, after controlling for time-invariant factors. Using data from a population-based, six-year panel survey in Japan, we focused on the evolution of the Kessler 6 (K6) scores (range: 0–24) for 26,522 individuals (12,646 men and 13,876 women) aged 50–59 years in 2005 over the subsequent five years. We found that men and women experienced 0.54 (95% CI 0.44–0.64) and 0.57 (95% CI 0.49–0.66) unit increases in their K6 scores, respectively, when they became involved in care provision for any family member. This magnitude of distress exceeded that associated with any socioeconomic or sociodemographic factor examined in this study. Furthermore, we found that care provision to a mother-in-law had an additional, negative association with mental health for female caregivers, as opposed to men. These findings suggest that more panel studies are needed to examine the correlates of mental health among middle-aged adults.
No preview · Article · Aug 2014 · Social Science & Medicine
[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: Our current study investigated how workplace social capital (WSC) mediates and moderates the associations between adverse work characteristics and psychological distress among Japanese workers. We collected cross-sectional data (N=9,350) from a baseline survey of an occupational Japanese cohort study. We focused on individual WSC and considered job demands/control, effort/reward, and two types (i.e., procedural and interactional) of organizational justice as work-characteristic variables. We defined psychological distress as a score of >= 5 on the Kessler Psychological Distress Scale (K6 scale). Multivariate logistic regression analyses predicted a binary variable of psychological distress by individual WSC and adverse work characteristics, adjusting for individual-level covariates. Individual WSC mediated the associations between adverse work characteristics and psychological distress in almost all model specifications. Additionally, individual WSC moderated the associations of psychological distress with high job demands, high effort, and low interactional justice when we used a high WSC cutoff point. In contrast, individual WSC did not moderate such interactions with low job control, reward, or procedural justice. We concluded that individual WSC mediated the associations between adverse work characteristics and psychological distress among Japanese workers while selectively moderating their associations at high levels of WSC.
No preview · Article · Jul 2014 · Industrial Health
[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: Previous studies have shown that income inequality in society is negatively associated with individuals subjective well-being (SWB), such as their perceived happiness and self-rated health (SRH). However, it is not realistic to assume that individuals have precise information about actual income distribution measured by the Gini coefficient or other statistical measures. In the current study, we examined how perceived income inequality, rather than actual inequality, was associated with SWB, using cross-sectional data collected from a nationwide, Internet survey conducted in Japan (N = 10,432). We also examined how this association was confounded by individuals’ objective and subjective income status, considering the possibility that individuals with lower income status are more inclined to both perceive income inequality and feel unhappy/unhealthy. In our analysis, we focused on the perception of widening income inequality (as perceived income inequality), perceived happiness and SRH (as SWB), and household income and living standards compared with 1 year ago and compared with others (as income status). We also controlled for personality traits. We obtained three key findings: (1) perceived income inequality was negatively associated with SWB; (2) both perceived income inequality and SWB were associated with income status; and (3) the association between perceived income inequality and SWB was attenuated after controlling for income status, but not fully for perceived happiness. These findings suggest that perceived income inequality, which links actual income inequality to SWB, should be further studied.
No preview · Article · May 2014 · Social Indicators Research
[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: Our current study investigated how workplace social capital (WSC) mediates and moderates the associations between adverse work characteristics and psychological distress among Japanese workers. We collected cross-sectional data (N=9,350) from a baseline survey of an occupational Japanese cohort study. We focused on individual WSC and considered job demands/control, effort/reward, and two types (i.e., procedural and interactional) of organizational justice as work-characteristic variables. We defined psychological distress as a score of ≥5 on the Kessler Psychological Distress Scale (K6 scale). Multivariate logistic regression analyses predicted a binary variable of psychological distress by individual WSC and adverse work characteristics, adjusting for individual-level covariates. Individual WSC mediated the associations between adverse work characteristics and psychological distress in almost all model specifications. Additionally, individual WSC moderated the associations of psychological distress with high job demands, high effort, and low interactional justice when we used a high WSC cutoff point. In contrast, individual WSC did not moderate such interactions with low job control, reward, or procedural justice. We concluded that individual WSC mediated the associations between adverse work characteristics and psychological distress among Japanese workers while selectively moderating their associations at high levels of WSC.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: Using panel data from two surveys in Japan and Europe, we examine the comparability of the self-rated health of the middle-aged and elderly across Japan and European countries and across the survey periods. We find that a person's own health is evaluated using different standards (thresholds) across the different countries and survey waves. When evaluated using common thresholds, the Japanese elderly are found to be healthier than their counterparts in the European countries. Reporting biases causing discrepancies between the changes in individuals' self-rated health and their actual health over the survey waves are associated with education and country of residence.
No preview · Article · Feb 2014 · Japanese Economic Review
[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: We explore the labor supply effect of the social security earnings test in Japan on those aged 65–69 years through a combined examination of the elimination of the earnings test in 1985 and its reinstatement in 2002. We present evidence showing that the effects of changes in the earnings tests on the labor supply of the elderly are not symmetric, controlling for changes in the attributes of workers and firms. The repeal of the earnings test in 1985 did affect the earnings distribution of the elderly (especially for male), while its reinstatement in 2002 did not alter the earnings distribution.
No preview · Article · Dec 2013 · Japan and the World Economy
[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: In this study, we analyze how life satisfaction and self-rated health are associated with income dynamics. We used data from male employees in Japan (N = 1004) drawn from a panel dataset of career wage records spanning a period of over 30 years. The income history used in this study was based on administrative records; thus, the data were almost free of recall error. Our results show that life satisfaction was more closely associated with a change in lifetime average income or maximum income than with a change in income compared to the previous year, whereas the opposite was true for self-rated health. In addition, life satisfaction tended to resist a decline in response to a fall in income from its average or maximum level, but this was not the case for self-rated health. Furthermore, an income peak experienced in the past made both life satisfaction and self-rated health more sensitive to changes in income, whereas a trough experienced in the past made them less sensitive. These findings suggest that the association of income between subjective well-being and health should be studied further, within a dynamic framework.
No preview · Article · Dec 2013 · Japan and the World Economy
[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: To examine the extent to which social support and socio-economic status (SES) in adulthood mediate the impact of interpersonal adversity in childhood on adult mental health using large-scale population data in Japan.
Data were derived from the Japanese Study of Stratification, Health, Income and Neighbourhood, which was conducted from October 2010 to February 2011 in four municipalities in and around the Tokyo metropolitan area. Survey participants were community residents aged 25-50 years who were selected at random from voter registration lists. The total sample size was 3292. The self-reported experience of parental maltreatment (physical abuse and/or neglect) and bullying in school and their impacts on adult mental health (in terms of K6 = 5+, K6 = 13+ and suicide ideation) were examined using multivariate logistic models.
Interpersonal adversity in childhood has a negative impact on adult mental health even after controlling for childhood SES. For example, the odds ratio for K6 = 5+, responding to parental maltreatment, was 2.64 (95% confidence interval 2.04-3.41). Perceived social support and adult SES mediated the impact of interpersonal adversity in childhood, but a substantial proportion of the impact was unexplained by their mediating effects; social support and adult SES only mediated 11-24% and 6-12%, respectively. It was also found that social support and adult SES (except educational attainment) did not moderate the negative impact of interpersonal adversity in childhood.
This analysis highlighted that the impact of interpersonal adversity in childhood is relatively independent of social support and SES in adulthood. This result has clear policy implications; more focus should be placed on policies that aim to reduce incidents of childhood maltreatment and bullying per se, both of which have a long-lasting direct impact on mental health.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: In this study, we examined the impact of childhood interpersonal adversity on adulthood subjective well-being (SWB), with a focus on the mediating and moderating effects of social support and socioeconomic status (SES). We concentrated on parental maltreatment (abuse and neglect) and bullying in school as childhood adversity variables and on perceived happiness and self-rated health as adulthood SWB measures. Our empirical analysis was based on micro data from a survey in municipalities in and around the Tokyo metropolitan area (N = 3,292). We obtained four key findings. First, the experience of childhood adversity had a substantial negative impact on adulthood SWB. Second, social support and SES significantly mediated the impact of childhood adversity. Third, however, a large proportion of the impact of childhood adversity remained unexplained by their mediation effects. Fourth, social support and SES did not moderate the impact of childhood adversity. Hence, we can conclude that childhood adversity affects adulthood SWB in a relatively independent manner rather than being substantially mediated or moderated by social support or SES. Accordingly, social policies should aim at reducing incidents of childhood maltreatment and bullying in addition to helping people enhance levels of social support and SES in later life.
No preview · Article · Jun 2013 · Journal of Happiness Studies
[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: In this study, we attempt to investigate how educational subsidy, childcare allowance and family allowance affect economic growth and income distribution on the basis of simulation models which incorporate intergenerational ability transmission and endogenous fertility. The simulation results show that financial support for higher education can both increase economic growth and reduce income inequality, especially if the abilities of parent and child are closely correlated. In contrast with educational subsidy, raising childcare allowance or family allowance has limited impacts on growth and income inequality.
Full-text · Article · Jun 2013 · Applied Economics