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Religion, Social Support, and Health among the Japanese Elderly

Neal Krause, Berit Ingersoll-Dayton, Jersey Liang and Hidehiro Sugisawa
Journal of Health and Social Behavior
Vol. 40, No. 4 (Dec., 1999), pp. 405-421
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2676333
Page Count: 17
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Religion, Social Support, and Health among the Japanese Elderly
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Abstract

We address three issues in this paper: (1) Is religion related to self-rated health, (2) do these salubrious effects arise because religion encourages people to provide help to significant others, and (3) is the relationship between religion and helping others more evident among older men than elderly women? We analyze the relationships among religion, support giving, and health with data provided by a national probability sample of 2,153 older people in Japan who were interviewed face-to-face in 1996. Greater involvement in religion is associated with providing help to others more often, but these effects emerge for older men only. Regardless of gender, elders who provide assistance to others more often rate their health more favorably than older adults who are less involved in helping others. These results confirm that religion is related to health, and that helping others may explain at least part of the reason for this relationship.

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