Skip to main content

What makes people anxious about life after the age of 65? Evidence from international survey research in Japan, the United States, China, and India

Abstract

This study investigated the causes of people’s anxieties about life after the age of 65 years, using household data from countries with different social contexts: Japan, the United States, China, and India. This research added contextual aspects to the literature on social security and precautionary savings. An ordered probit model was used to establish the causes of anxiety and a generalized structural equation model was used to check the robustness of the results. This study uncovered three major findings. First, anxiety levels about life at an older age partly depend on people’s views of the future. Second, high financial status lessens people’s anxiety levels only if prices are stable. Third, living with a child, contrary to expectations, does not necessarily lessen people’s concerns about life after 65.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4

Notes

  1. 1.

    However, I have not found any literature that suggests anxiety may cause people to exercise.

References

  1. Argyle, M. (1986). Rules for social relationships in four cultures. Australian Journal of Psychology, 38, 309–318.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  2. Bland, R. C., Newman, S. C., & Orn, H. (1998). Period prevalence of psychiatric disorders in Edmonton. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavia, 77, 33–42.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. Browning, M., & Lusardi, A. (1996). Household saving: Micro theories and micro facts. Journal of Economic Literature, 34, 1797–1855.

    Google Scholar 

  4. Carroll, C. D., & Samwick, A. A. (1998). How important is precautionary saving? Review of Economics and Statistics, 80, 410–419.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. Carta, M. G., Carpiniello, B., Morosini, P. L., & Rudas, N. (1991). Prevalence of mental disorders in Sardinia: A community study in an inland mining district. Psychological Medicine, 21, 1061–1071.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Daiichi-Life Insurance. (2012). Survey on preparation for own long-term care (Jibun no kaigo no junbi ni kansuru chousa). http://www.dai-ichi-life.co.jp/company/news/pdf/2011_068.pdf. Accessed July 5, 2014.

  7. Dardanoni, V. (1991). Precautionary savings under income uncertainty: A cross-sectional analysis. Applied Economics, 23, 153–160.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. Engen, E. M., & Gruber, J. (2001). Unemployment insurance and precautionary saving. Journal of Monetary Economics, 47, 545–579.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  9. Fichter, M. M., Narrow, W. E., Roper, M. T., Rehm, J., Elton, M., Rae, D. S., et al. (1996). Prevalence of mental illness in Germany and the United States: Comparison of the Upper Bavarian Study and the Epidemiologic Catchment Area program. Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 184, 598–606.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  10. Grossbard, S. (2014). A note on altruism and caregiving in the family: Do prices matter? Review of Economics of the Household, 12, 487–491.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. Heinrichs, N., Rapee, R. M., Alden, L. A., Bogels, S., Hofmann, S. G., Oh, K. J., et al. (2006). Cultural differences in perceived social norms and social anxiety. Behavioral Research and Therapy, 44, 1187–1197.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  12. Hoffman, D. L., Dukes, E. M., & Hu, W. (2008). Human and economic burden of generalized anxiety disorder. Depression and Anxiety, 25(1), 72–90.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  13. Hofmann, S. G., Asnaani, A., & Hinton, D. E. (2010). Cultural aspects in social anxiety and social anxiety disorder. Depression and Anxiety, 27(12), 1117–1127.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  14. Hofstede, G. (1984). The cultural relativity of the quality of life concept. Academy of Management Review, 9(3), 389–398.

    Google Scholar 

  15. Hofstede, G. (2001). Culture’s consequences: Comparing values, behaviors, institutions, and organizations across nations (2nd ed.). Beverly Hills, CA: Sage.

    Google Scholar 

  16. Hu, W. (2002). Generalized anxiety disorder: Prevalence, burden, and cost to society. Depression and Anxiety, 16(4), 162–171.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  17. Jorm, Anthony F. (2000). Does old age reduce the risk of anxiety and depression? A review of epidemiological studies across the adult life span. Psychological Medicine, 30, 11–22.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  18. Kazarosian, Mark. (1997). Precautionary saving—A panel study. Review of Economics and Statistics, 79, 241–247.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  19. Knight, F. (2010). Global house price index, Q1 2010. http://www.knightfrank.co.uk/news/House-prices-now-rising-in-more-than-half-of-countries-across-the-globe-0229.aspx. Accessed September 20, 2013.

  20. Knight, F. (2011). Global house price index, Q1 2011. http://www.knightfrank.com/news/Knight-Frank-Global-House-Price-Index-Q1-2011-results-0642.aspx. Accessed September 12, 2013.

  21. Menegatti, M. (2007). Consumption and uncertainty: A panel analysis in Italian Region. Applied Economics Letters, 14(1), 39–42.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  22. Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, Government of Japan. (2010). CPI: Consumer price index. http://www.stat.go.jp/english/index.htm. Accessed September 5, 2013.

  23. Norasakkunkit, V., & Kalick, S. M. (2009). Experimentally detecting how cultural differences on social anxiety measures misrepresent cultural differences in emotional well-being. Journal of Happiness Studies, 10, 313–327.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  24. OECD. (2006). Long-term care for older people. Paris: Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

    Google Scholar 

  25. Okazaki, S. (1997). Sources of ethnic differences between Asian-American and white American college students on measures of depression and social anxiety. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 106(1), 52–60.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  26. Starr-McCluer, M. (1996). Health insurance and precautionary saving. American Economic Review, 86, 285–295.

    Google Scholar 

  27. United Nations. (2011). World population prospects. http://esa.un.org/wpp/unpp/panel_population.htm. Accessed September 3, 2013.

  28. Weissman, Myrna M., & Myers, Jerome K. (1980). Psychiatric disorders in a U.S. community: The application of research diagnostic criteria to a resurveyed community sample. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavia, 62, 99–111.

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgments

This research used micro data from the Preference Parameters Study of Osaka University’s 21st Century COE Program ‘Behavioral Macrodynamics Based on Surveys and Experiments’ and its Global COE project ‘Human Behavior and Socioeconomic Dynamics’. I acknowledge the program/project’s contributors: Yoshiro Tsutsui, Fumio Ohtake, and Shinsuke Ikeda. This work was supported by JSPS KAKENHI Grant Number 15K17075. I thank Charles Yuji Horioka, Midori Wakabayashi, Wataru Kureishi, Shizuka Sekita, Keisuke Kawata, Eiji Mangyo, Sayaka Namamura, and Mostafa Khan for their valuable comments.

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Yoshihiko Kadoya.

Ethics declarations

Conflict of interest

This author declares that he has no conflict of interest.

Appendix: Details of the data collection method

Appendix: Details of the data collection method

Japan

In the Japan study, nationwide visit-placement surveys of individuals and households were conducted from January to March 2012. The target respondents were between 20 and 69 years. Two-stage stratified random sampling was applied. First, the prefectures of Japan were divided into ten regional blocks: Hokkaido, Tohoku, Kanto, Koshinetsu, Hokuriku, Tokai, Kinki, Chugoku, Shikoku, and Kyushu. Then, each of the 10 regions was sub-divided into the following four strata: government-designated major cities, cities with populations of more than 100,000, cities with populations of less than 100,000, and towns and villages. From this dataset, 2579 observations were chosen covering 40–64-year olds with no missing answers.

The United States

In the United States study, mail surveys were sent to individuals and households all over the nation, except to the states of Alaska and Hawaii, between January and March 2012. The target respondents were 18 years or older. Multi-stage sampling was applied. The population was split into 36 different sample universes based on age group, gender, and race ethnicity. From this dataset, 1190 observations were chosen. The observations covered 40–64-year olds with no missing answers.

China

In the China study, face-to-face interviews were conducted in six major cities—Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chengdu, Wuhan, and Shenyang—from December 23, 2011 to January 21, 2012. The target respondents were adults between 20 and 70 years of age. A multi-stage sampling and allocation method was used. First, numbers of responses were predicted based on the target population in each district using the Statistical Yearbook. Then, an area in each district was selected randomly. Finally, using the Kish Grid method, individuals were chosen to be interviewed. From this dataset, 735 observations were chosen covering 40–64-year olds with no missing answers.

India

In the India study, face-to-face interviews were conducted in six major cities—Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai, Calcutta, and Hyderabad—between January and March 2012. The target respondents were adults between 20 and 69 years of age. A multi-stage sampling and allocation method was used. Each city was divided into four quadrants (north, south, west, and east) and each section was stratified into separate categories by gender, age group, and socioeconomic characteristics. Finally, the numbers of responses were set to be collected randomly within each stratum. From this dataset, 493 observations were chosen. The observations covered 40–64-year olds with no missing answers.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Kadoya, Y. What makes people anxious about life after the age of 65? Evidence from international survey research in Japan, the United States, China, and India. Rev Econ Household 14, 443–461 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11150-015-9310-0

Download citation

Keywords

  • Aging policy
  • Social security
  • Future concern
  • Precautionary saving
  • Comparative studies

JEL Classification

  • E21
  • H53
  • I38