Using the Japanese concept of ikigai, which describes a certain state ofpsychological well-being, this study exploreshow Japanese family caregivers of elderlyparents with dementia pursue, maintain, orattempt to regain their psychologicalwell-being in the face of the hardship ofcaregiving. Using constant comparativemethodology, twenty-six Japanese women who werecaring for an elderly demented parent orparent-in-law were interviewed. Based on theanalysis of interview data, we defineikigai as certain life experiences and/or thepositive emotion felt through those experiencesthat allow the caregiver to judge her life asgood and meaningful, and to feel that it isworthwhile to continue living. Caregivers usevarious different means to pursue theirikigai depending on the context of care. Thetypes of their pursuit of ikigai areexamined in varying contexts of caregiving.Because the data suggest that ikigaiexperience influences how the caregivers'self-understanding changes over time, thenotion of ikigai is further explored inrelation to the construct of self-understanding.
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Yamamoto-Mitani, N., Wallhagen, M.I. Pursuit of Psychological Well-Being (Ikigai) and the Evolution of Self-Understanding in the Context of Caregiving in Japan. Cult Med Psychiatry 26, 399–417 (2002). https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1021747419204