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Happiness Through Participation in Neighborhood Associations in Japan? The Impact of Loneliness and Voluntariness

  • Tim Tiefenbach
  • Phoebe Stella Holdgrün
Original Paper

Abstract

This article analyzes the relationship between subjective well-being (SWB) and participation in neighborhood associations (NHA) in Japan. While the theoretical and empirical literature suggests a strong positive correlation between participation in NHAs and SWB, recent research on Japan could not validate this result. This study shows how those diverging results can be explained by including two factors in the analysis: the voluntariness of the action as well as loneliness as a mediating variable. Using linear regression models on data from two different studies, we find that—even in the case of Japan—voluntary participation in NHAs is positively associated with SWB in two ways: directly and indirectly mediated by loneliness. This result is robust to differently sampled data and different measures of our key variables.

Keywords

Neighborhood associations Subjective well-being Japan Civil participation Voluntariness Loneliness Gender 

Résumé

Cet article analyse la relation entre le bien-être subjectif (BES) et la participation à des associations de quartier au Japon. Si la littérature théorique et empirique laisse entendre une corrélation fortement positive entre la participation à des associations de quartier et le BES, des recherches récentes sur le Japon n’ont pas pu valider ce résultat. La présente étude montre comment ces résultats divergents peuvent s’expliquer en intégrant deux facteurs dans l’analyse: le caractère volontaire de l’action ainsi que la solitude comme variable médiatrice. En utilisant des modèles de régression linéaire sur les données issues de deux études différentes, nous constatons que – même dans le cas du Japon – la participation volontaire dans les associations de quartier est associée de manière positive au BES de deux façons: directement et indirectement induite par la solitude. Ce résultat est fiable pour les différentes données de l’échantillon et les différentes mesures de nos variables clés.

Zusammenfassung

Dieser Beitrag untersucht die Beziehung zwischen subjektivem Wohlbefinden und der Partizipation an Nachbarschaftsvereinigungen in Japan. Während in der theoretischen und empirischen Literatur eine starke positive Wechselbeziehung zwischen der Teilnahme an Nachbarschaftsvereinigungen und dem subjektiven Wohlbefinden nahe gelegt wird, konnten kürzliche Studien zu Japan dieses Ergebnis nicht bestätigen. Die vorliegende Studie zeigt, wie sich die abweichenden Ergebnisse erklären lassen, indem die Analyse zwei Faktoren berücksichtigt: die Freiwilligkeit der Handlung sowie Einsamkeit als eine Mediatorvariable. Nach Anwendung linearer Regressionsmodelle auf Daten aus zwei verschiedenen Studien stellen wir fest, dass - auch im Fall von Japan - eine freiwillige Teilnahme an Nachbarschaftsvereinigungen auf zweierlei Weise mit dem subjektiven Wohlbefinden positiv in Verbindung steht, und zwar direkt und indirekt beeinflusst durch Einsamkeit. Dieses Ergebnis bleibt auch bei unterschiedlich erfassten Daten und unterschiedlichen Messungen unserer Schlüsselvariablen bestehen.

Resumen

El presente artículo analiza la relación entre el bienestar subjetivo (SWB, del inglés subjective well-being) y la participación en asociaciones vecinales (NHA, del inglés neighborhood associations) en Japón. Aunque el material publicado teórico y empírico sugiere una fuerte correlación positiva entre la participación en NHA y SWB, investigaciones recientes sobre Japón podrían no validar este resultado. El presente estudio muestra cómo dichos resultados divergentes pueden ser explicados mediante la inclusión de dos factores en el análisis: la voluntariedad de la acción, así como también la soledad como variable mediadora. Utilizando modelos de regresión lineal en datos procedentes de dos estudios diferentes, encontramos que - incluso en el caso de Japón - la participación voluntaria en NHA se asocia de manera positiva al SWB de dos formas: bajo la mediación directa e indirecta de la soledad. Este resultado es sólido para datos de muestreo diferentes y diferentes mediciones de nuestras variables claves.

摘要

这篇文章分析了日本人主观幸福感(SWB)和参与居民委员会(NHA)程度的关系。虽然理论和实验性的文章都指出了在居民委员会的参与程度与主观幸福感的强正相关性,但是近期在日本的研究并不能验证这一结论。本研究表明,这种不统一的结果可以通过两方面来进行解释:行动的自愿性和孤独感这一中介变量。对两个不同的研究数据进行线性拟合,我们发现—即使对于日本的案例来说—自愿参与居民委员会与主观幸福感从以下两方面正相关:直接或间接被孤独感所调节。这个研究结果非常坚实的适用于不用方式取样的数据以及对我们的重要变量不同方式的测量。

要約

本論文では、主観的幸福感(SWB)と日本の町内会(NHA)への参加との関係を分析する。理論的・実証的資料では、町内会の参加と主観的幸福感に対する強力的かつ積極的な相関関係を示唆しているが、日本における最近の研究ではこの結果が検証できなかった。本研究では、ボランティア活動と媒介変数の孤独感という2つの要因分析を含めて説明する。2つの異なる研究において線形回帰モデルのデータを使用すると、日本の町内会におけるボランティア参加の場合、直接的および間接的な孤独感という2つの観点から主観的幸福感の関係を検討することができる。この結果から、異なるサンプリング・データと基本変数の測定が有効であることがわかった。

ملخص

تحلل هذه المقالة العلاقة بين الرفاهية الذاتية (SWB)والمشاركة في جمعيات الحي (NHAs) في اليابان. بينما تشير الأدبيات النظرية والتجريبية على وجود علاقة إيجابية قوية بين المشاركة في جمعيات الحي (NHAs) و الرفاهية الذاتية (SWB)، البحوث التي أجريت مؤخرا˝ على اليابان لم تتمكن من إثبات صحة هذه النتيجة. تبين هذه الدراسة كيف أن هذه النتائج المتباينة يمكن شرحها عن طريق تضمين إثنين من العوامل في التحليل : التطوع للعمل وكذلك الشعور بالوحدة كمتغير توسطي. بإستخدام نماذج الإنحدارالخطي على بيانات من دراستين مختلفتين، نجد أن-حتى في حالة اليابان- المشاركة التطوعية في جمعيات الحي (NHAs) ترتبط بشكل إيجابي مع الرفاهية الذاتية (SWB)بطريقتين: مباشرة وغير مباشرة بوساطة من الشعور بالوحدة. هذه النتيجة هي قوية لبيانات العينة بشكل مختلف وتدابير مختلفة من المتغيرات الرئيسية لدينا.

Notes

Acknowledgments

We are grateful to the Cabinet Office of the Government of Japan for providing us with the raw data of the National Survey on Lifestyle Preferences 2011. This project on neighborhood associations in Japan would not have been possible without the generous support of the German Institute for Japanese Studies (DIJ). Any errors or opinions are ours alone.

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Copyright information

© International Society for Third-Sector Research and The Johns Hopkins University 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.German Institute for Japanese Studies (DIJ)Chiyoda-kuJapan

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