Factors determining the social participation of older adults: A comparison between Japan and Korea using EASS 2012

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Aims Japan and Korea are the world's most aged and most rapidly aging nations. They both have low fertility rates, thereby intensifying the importance of social structures to aid a large, dependent population of older adults. Common strategies involve improving their social participation, which enhances their physical and mental health, so they are supporting society rather than being supported. Since the social participation rates in both countries are not as high as those of Western countries, it is critical to shed light on the factors related to social participation of the elderly. Methods A secondary analyses were performed using Japanese and Korean data from the 2012 East Asia Social Survey (EASS), which includes nationally representative samples through random sampling. The analyses only include data from those 65 and older (Japan: N=683, Korea: N=362). Results Social participation is classified into four types: 1) no affiliation; 2) inactive participation; 3) active recreational; and 4) active social. The Japanese respondents had a higher participation rate than Koreans, but more Japanese were inactive. Though the rates of active participations were similar in both countries. Multinomial logistic regressions were conducted to examine the related factors among the four types of social participation. Basic attributes (e.g., living alone) and other factors (e.g., network size) were included as independent variables. The results show that larger non-family networks were linked with increased social participation in both societies. Men were more vulnerable to engaging in no social activities and at a higher risk of social isolation in both countries. One difference between the two nations is that among the Japanese, people with higher social orientations engage in more active social type participation. Conclusion This study reveals that non-kin social networks are important for social participation in Japan and Korea.


  • PLoS ONE

    PLoS ONE 13 (4), e0194703-e0194703, 2018-04-06

    Public Library of Science

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