a1 Department of Health Science, Towson University, Towson, Maryland, USA.
a2 Advanced Research Institute for the Sciences and Humanities, Nihon University, Tokyo, Japan.
Japan presents a unique social laboratory in which to examine how family support impacts on older adults’ psychological wellbeing. This is because of its cultural climate where distinctively different expectations of old-age independence and the traditional norm of filial piety coexist. This study investigated how structural and functional dimensions of the family support of older Japanese parents influence their psychological morale, and whether the impacts of family support on parents’ morale vary depending on the parents’ belief in the traditional cultural norm of filial piety. Four waves of data from the Nihon University Japanese Longitudinal Study of Aging (NUJLSOA) collected in 1999, 2001, 2003 and 2006 were analysed. Combining the two- or three-year span of longitudinal data between each wave (N=3,882), an ordered logistic regression analysis was undertaken. The results reveal that although parents who were widowed or received emotional support from a child tended to report a lower level of morale, the negative influences of such support tended to be mitigated if the parent agreed with the traditional cultural norm of filial responsibilities. These results imply that the meaning and benefit of family support may differ depending on the degree to which Japanese older parents support the traditional norm of filial responsibilities.
(Accepted April 23 2012)