Journal of Cross-Cultural Gerontology

, Volume 30, Issue 4, pp 423–438 | Cite as

Elder Care, Multiple Role Involvement, and Well-Being Among Middle-Aged Men and Women in Japan

  • Saeko Kikuzawa


Japan’s population is aging at an unprecedented rate. Combined with the tradition of family responsibility for elder care, this rapid population aging has resulted in middle-aged Japanese people being much more likely today than in past decades to face the responsibility of caring for their elderly parents alongside their other major roles. Using nationally representative Japanese data, this study assessed the individual and combined implications of caregiving and other role involvements for the well-being of middle-aged men and women. Some evidence was found for deleterious psychological consequences of the caregiver role. However, in contrast to expectations, the interaction between the roles of caregiver and worker was positively associated with well-being among both men and women. The results suggest the importance of middle-aged adults being able to keep working when they have to care for their aging parents. Another important finding was significant gender differences in the psychological consequences of holding multiple family- and work-related roles and in combining these with the caregiver role. Further analysis showed that the spousal role was also negatively associated with depressive symptoms and positively associated with satisfaction for men but not for women. Gender differences in the findings appear to reflect the significant gender asymmetry in role experiences in Japan.


Caregiving Family Japan Well-being Work 



The data used for this analysis—“the National Family Research of Japan 2003 (NFRJ03), the National Family Research Committee of the Japan Society of Family Sociology”—were provided by the Social Science Japan Data Archive, Center for Social Research and Data Archives, Institute of Social Science, The University of Tokyo. This work was supported by Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research (Grant numbers 26380781, 26285117, 22243038) from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Saeko Kikuzawa
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Sociology, Faculty of Social SciencesHosei UniversityMachidaJapan

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