Volume 24 (2014) Issue 6 Pages 519-525
Background: Further evidence into the effects of social relationships on health (including those at both the individual and community levels) is needed in Japan. The Yabu Cohort Study was launched in 2012 to identify the associations between social relationships and health among community-dwelling older Japanese people and to evaluate population approaches for preventive long-term care in the community. This report describes the study design and the profile of the participants at baseline.
Methods: The Yabu Cohort Study is a prospective study of community-dwelling individuals aged 65 years and older in Yabu, Hyogo Prefecture, Japan. The baseline survey, using a mailed self-administered questionnaire, was conducted from July through August 2012. It included information on socioeconomic status, general and psychological health, and social relationships (social network, social support, and social capital). Survival time, long-term care insurance certification, and medical and long-term care costs after the baseline survey will be followed.
Results: Of 7271 questionnaires distributed, a total of 6652 were returned (91.5% response rate), and 6241 were included in the analysis. Mean age was 71.9 ± 5.2 years, 43.2% were men, and 83.8% had lived in their neighborhood for more than 40 years. Approximately 45.2% expressed general trust. About 82.4%, 49.9%, and 55.5% have participated in neighborhood association activities, municipal seminars for preventive long-term care, and salon activities in the community, respectively.
Conclusions: The study is expected to provide valuable evidence on the effects of social relationships on health and to suggest the usefulness of population approaches for preventive long-term care in Japanese communities.