Multigenerational family structure in Japanese society: Impacts on stress and health behaviors among women and men

Yasuhisa Takeda, Ichiro Kawachi, Zentaro Yamagata, Shuji Hashimoto, Yasuhiro Matsumura, Shigenori Oguri, Akira Okayama

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

39 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Rapid population aging in Japan has led to rising demands for informal care giving. Traditionally, care giving for aging parents has fallen disproportionately on the shoulders of women living in multigenerational households. However, rising labor force participation by Japanese women, declining marriage and fertility rates, and women's changing expectations have combined to produce unprecedented strains on traditional multigenerational households where care giving to elders traditionally takes place. In this paper, we explored gender-specific relationships between family structure, stress and worries, and health behaviors, using linked data from two national surveys conducted in Japan: the 1995 Comprehensive Survey of the Living Conditions of People on Health and Welfare, and the 1995 National Nutrition Survey. We found that women in multigenerational households reported more care-giving worries, and also less future health and financial worries. Living with parents was associated with protective health behaviors (less smoking, less heavy drinking), but also more sedentary behavior among women, while men in "sandwich" families (i.e., living with both parents and children) reported heavier smoking. The association of family structure and health behavior was not mediated by worries. Living alone was associated with worse health for women. These findings suggest gender-specific patterns of worries and health behaviors that reflect both the health-protecting and health-damaging effects of living in multigenerational households.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)69-81
Number of pages13
JournalSocial Science and Medicine
Volume59
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 01-01-2004

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Health Behavior
family structure
health behavior
Parents
Health
health
parents
Japan
Smoking
smoking
Family Health
Nutrition Surveys
Birth Rate
Social Conditions
Women's Health
Marriage
labor force participation
fertility rate
gender
Drinking

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health(social science)
  • History and Philosophy of Science

Cite this

Takeda, Yasuhisa ; Kawachi, Ichiro ; Yamagata, Zentaro ; Hashimoto, Shuji ; Matsumura, Yasuhiro ; Oguri, Shigenori ; Okayama, Akira. / Multigenerational family structure in Japanese society : Impacts on stress and health behaviors among women and men. In: Social Science and Medicine. 2004 ; Vol. 59, No. 1. pp. 69-81.
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Multigenerational family structure in Japanese society : Impacts on stress and health behaviors among women and men. / Takeda, Yasuhisa; Kawachi, Ichiro; Yamagata, Zentaro; Hashimoto, Shuji; Matsumura, Yasuhiro; Oguri, Shigenori; Okayama, Akira.

In: Social Science and Medicine, Vol. 59, No. 1, 01.01.2004, p. 69-81.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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