Valuation of life among old and very old adults: Comparison between Germany and Japan

TitleValuation of life among old and very old adults: Comparison between Germany and Japan
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsNakagawa, T, Jopp, D, Gondo, Y, Lehrfeld, J, Rott, C, Oswald, F
JournalInnovation in Aging
Keywordsculture, Old-old, quality of life, well-being, Young-old

Background and Objectives: Valuation of life (VOL) represents a construct capturing individuals’ active attachment to
their life. The majority of studies on VOL were conducted in North America and Europe where personal autonomy and
independence are highly valued, leaving open the question about the relevance of this construct in interdependence-oriented
cultures. Using a framework of cross-cultural and life-span theories, the present study compared levels and predictors of
VOL between the young-old and old-old individuals from Germany and Japan. Research Design and Methods: Two hundred fifty-seven Germans and 248 Japanese, matched by age, gender, education, and IADL, answered a 5-item VOL scale and shared information on sociodemographic, social, and health resources. Results: Germans’ VOL levels were higher than in Japanese participants. Both culture- and age-moderated predictions of VOL: education was significant only in the young-old Japanese, and close social partners mattered in the old-old, not in the young-old. Health determined VOL irrespective of culture and age. Discussion and Implications: The findings suggest that cultural values and aging processes should be considered to
better understand how individuals value their life and to help older adults to feel that his/her life is meaningful and
worth living.

Custom 1

{:status: Advance online publication}