Aspects of Vulnerability Affecting Japanese Elders' Well-Being

Monday, July 11, 2011

Miwako Hoshi, PhD, RN
School of Nursing, Sapporo City University, Sapporo, Japan

Learning Objective 1: The learner will be able to understand aspects of vulnerability affecting well-being of Japanese elders.

Learning Objective 2: The learner will be able to understand how to operationalize the concept of vulnerability for Japanese elders.


The purpose of this study was to examine aspects of vulnerability which affect well-being in Japanese hospitalized elders. 


This study was a nonexperimental descriptive design. A convenience sample of 105 hospitalized Japanese elders (mean age =74 years old, range 65 to 94 years old) participated in this study. The level of vulnerability was estimated by examination of various aspects of respondents` health and socioeconomic background. The questionnaire of vulnerability was developed by the investigator based on the extensive literature review, and the respondents` level of vulnerability was examined by three aspects: vulnerability in health status (assessed by present health status and number of chronic illness), vulnerability in resource availability (assessed by social status, social capital, and human capital), and number of past vulnerable life experiences. Well-being was examined from the level of depression and life satisfaction. In order to help ensure consistency across respondents in understanding and completing the questionnaires, an interview format was used. Pearson`s correlation was employed to analyze the relationship between vulnerability and well-being variables.   


Correlational analysis revealed that participants with higher vulnerability in health status and resource availability tend to have higher level of depression, whereas respondents with lower vulnerability in resource availability were likely to have higher level of life satisfaction. Past vulnerable experience did not demonstrate any significant correlation with both well-being variables. 


Findings of the study indicated that two aspects of vulnerability, vulnerability in health status and resource availability, significantly affect the level of well-being of Japanese hospitalized elders.