2004 Volume 14 Issue 1 Pages 23-31
BACKGROUND: Many working-age people have poor health habits. The aim of this study was to investigate their views of old age and death and the relationship of those views to their health habits.
METHODS: A structured interview about views on old age and death, self-rated health, satisfaction with life (life satisfaction) and health habits was conducted on a random sample of 1,200 men and women aged 30-59 years in the southern part of Gifu Prefecture, Japan. The response rate was 78%.
RESULTS: Less than half as many respondents expected to live past 80 years than expected to live past 70 years. A greater percentage of men than women had no plan for old age, while the percentage of women who expected to live with friends and family was higher than that for men. For men, fewer symptoms, life satisfaction, valuing health, and anxiety about health status during solitary old age, and for women, occupation, fewer symptoms, life satisfaction, valuing health, expecting social participation during old age, expecting to live with her spouse during old age and considering one's own death were positively associated with health habits. Experience of presence at a deathbed was not related to health habits.
CONCLUSIONS: Results of our survey suggest that men have a poor outlook toward old age and death and suggest the possibility that helping men prepare for an inevitable death may help them live fuller lives.