Applied Research in Quality of Life

, Volume 11, Issue 4, pp 1425–1443 | Cite as

Who are your Neighbors? Neighbor Relationships and Subjective Well-Being in Japan

  • Hiromi TaniguchiEmail author
  • Deborah A. Potter


Supportive relationships with neighbors have been shown to positively predict indicators of subjective well-being. Using data from the 2010 Japanese General Social Survey, we examine how neighbor relationships predict subjective well-being. Japan presents an interesting case to examine this question when considering its highly institutionalized neighborhood associations. We find that controlling for the safety and amenity aspects of the neighborhood environment, supportive neighbor relationships significantly increase men and women’s life satisfaction, but such relationships have a significant positive effect only on men’s happiness. The effects of neighborhood relationships on life satisfaction and happiness are significantly larger for men. Moreover, we find that the social and safety aspects of the neighborhood reinforce each other to increase life satisfaction also only for men. Implications of the gendered pattern of these results are discussed for future research on the association between neighbor relationships and subjective well-being in Japan and beyond.


Neighbor relationships Life satisfaction Happiness Japan 



The Japanese General Social Surveys (JGSS) are designed and carried out by the JGSS Research Center at Osaka University of Commerce (Joint Usage / Research Center for Japanese General Social Surveys accredited by Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology), in collaboration with the Institute of Social Science at the University of Tokyo.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht and The International Society for Quality-of-Life Studies (ISQOLS) 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of SociologyUniversity of LouisvilleLouisvilleUSA

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