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

  • 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.

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Author:Takeshi Nakagawa, Daniela Jopp, Yasuyuki Gondo, Jonathan Lehrfeld, Christoph Rott, Frank Oswald
Pubmed Id:
Parent Title (English):Innovation in Aging
Publisher:Oxford University Press
Place of publication:Oxford
Contributor(s):J. Jill Suitor
Document Type:Article
Year of Completion:2018
Date of first Publication:2018/07/11
Publishing Institution:Universitätsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg
Release Date:2018/12/06
Tag:Culture; Old-old; Quality of life; Well-being; Young-old
Issue:2, igy020
Page Number:10
First Page:1
Last Page:10
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted reuse, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Institutes:Biowissenschaften / Biowissenschaften
Dewey Decimal Classification:6 Technik, Medizin, angewandte Wissenschaften / 61 Medizin und Gesundheit / 610 Medizin und Gesundheit
Licence (German):License LogoCreative Commons - Namensnennung 4.0