The Japanese regardless of sex average life span exceeded 80 years old; man 80.21 years old and woman 86.61 years old in 2013. It is necessary to increase healthy life span (the period when everyday life does not have mental and physical limitations) to get closer the average life span to keep personal dignity and to spend the happy old age. Relationship between aging and stress has two points of view. One has mental and physical disorder by decreasing stress tolerance with aging. The other is to accelerate aging by excessive stress. This special issue includes four papers about; (1) changes in social roles and relationships and stress by aging, (2) sleep and health promotion for the elderly, (3) too much sitting among older adults, (4) relationship between vitamin D and stress.
This paper discusses stress of the older adults and changes in social roles and relationships with others. We have chosen retirement for the change in social roles and family relations and separation by death for the change in relationships. Also, as a topic of today’s aging society, we have discussed stress for providing care. The results suggest that (1) retirement is associated with stress, but there are different impacts depending on the circumstance of retirement, (2) family relations or separation by death is linked to stress of older adults, and (3) providing care can cause stress, but it may be relieved by social support.
This paper is an overview of sleep, lifestyle, mental, and physical health, and the characteristics of insomnia among the elderly. The purpose of this paper is to provide an overview of the effects of the sleep management with actual examples of public health from the community. Sleep management that included short naps and exercise in the evening was effective in promoting sleep and mental health with elderly people. The interventions demonstrated that the proper awakening maintenance and keeping proper arousal level during the evening were effective in improving sleep quality. Furthermore, sleep management that included sleep education and cognitive-behavioral interventions improved sleep-related habits and the quality of sleep. In this study, a sleep educational program using minimal cognitive-behavioral modification techniques was developed. Mental and physical health were also improved along with improving sleep with the elderly. These results suggest that cognitive-behavioral interventions to improve the sleep practices are effective for mental health, the activity of daily living (ADL), and the quality of life (QOL).
Sedentary behavior, defined as participation in activities such as sitting and reclining during waking hours that do not increase energy expenditure substantially, has been gaining increased focus in physical activity research. In the last decade, sedentary behavior has emerged as a new risk factor for physical and mental health, independent of moderate to vigorous intensity physical activity. Especially, older adults spend most of their waking time in sedentary activities. Despite this high exposure, a broader base of evidence on sedentary behavior research in older adults has not yet been well reviewed. To inform future directions on sedentary behavior research among older adults, the present study provides the overview of the evidence from recently-published studies. This review includes evidence on the prevalence of objectively-measured and self-reported sedentary behaviors; the relationships with sedentary behavior (too much sitting) with multiple health outcomes; the effectiveness of interventions to reduce sedentary time and an overview of public health recommendations on reducing and breaking up sedentary time. Additional studies with high methodological quality are still needed to develop informed guidelines for addressing sedentary behavior in older adults.
Vitamin D was originally known as a vitamin important in calcium metabolism. Vitamin D in the body is obtained with food and also by synthesis in the skin under the influence of sun light UV. Vitamin D needs to be activated/hydroxyrated in liver and kidney for its action in target organs. These situations have not been changed, but its roles in biological system have turned to be wide and deep. One of the newer fields of vitamin D is that of neurological system. Vitamin D insufficiency has been reported to be related to the prevalence of dementia and also to the resilience to stress in the elderly. The relationship between vitamin D and stress in younger generation was suggested in some article, but still under the discussion.
Effective psychological interventions for depression in children have been investigated in previous research. The purpose of this study was to investigate and compare the effects of cognitive psychological education and social skills training (SST) on the reduction of depression in students in a fourth grade class. Results of the ANOVA of Group (cognitive psychological education or SST) X Period (pre, post, follow up I after three months, and follow up II after seven months) showed no significant differences from two groups on the reduction of depression. However, the results suggested that cognitive psychological education reduced depression by increasing “expectancy for support,” which is a positive automatic thoughts factor, and decreasing “negative view of self,” which is a negative automatic thoughts factor. In contrast, SST reduced depression by increasing “expectancy for support” and “pro-social behavior,” and decreasing “social withdrawal behavior.” As explained above, we conclude that both cognitive psychological education and SST reduce depression, but that the mechanisms by which they act differ.
We encountered cases of headache exacerbation in migraine patients living in the Tokyo metropolitan area following the Great East Japan Earthquake in the present study. We investigated the effects of the disaster situation on patients with migraine headaches following the Great East Japan Earthquake as well as their physical symptoms and psychological states using a questionnaire. The questionnaire survey was also conducted to clarify the prevalence of patients with headaches prior to earthquakes. The recovery rate was 65.7% (71/108 people). The seventy-one patients with migraines included 68 female patients (95.8%) and 19 patients that had migraines with an aura (26.8%). The exacerbation of headaches was observed in 24.6% of the migraine patients after the earthquake. Furthermore, a degraded psychological state was noted in patients with worsening headaches who began taking medication for insomnia. However, the disaster situation did not directly affect headache symptoms. Some of the patients examined (7.0%) had headaches prior to earthquakes in the Tokyo metropolitan area. These results indicate that the exacerbation of headaches was observed in migraine patients who exhibited co-morbidities including insomnia and anxiety in the Tokyo metropolitan area away from the affected area. We also showed that some of these patients had headaches prior to earthquakes.
Living at home enables muscular dystrophy (MD) patients to maintain family and social relationships, and to make decisions regarding their lifestyle. Consequently, it is considered that patients living at home have an improved quality of life (QOL) and reduced chronic stress levels when compared to patients confined to a hospital. The study aims to compare the relationships between chronic stress and QOL of hospitalized MD patients vs home-care MD patients using non-invasive positive pressure ventilation (NPPV). It is hoped that these findings will support the transition of medical care to the home. Results of the study show that the cortisol awakening response (CAR), an index of chronic stress, was significantly attenuated in the inpatient and home-care patient groups, compared with the healthy control group, and that in SF-36 Health Survey the general health perceptions (GH) concept was significantly higher in the inpatients than in the home-care patients. Therefore, it can be surmised that muscular dystrophy patients using NPPV are in a state of chronic stress, irrespective of the care environment. Also, nursing is still required even for patients who are cared for at home in order to improve their sense of well-being.
Acute Stress Reactions (ASR) of local governments’ employees in the areas affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake was investigated. A questionnaire survey was conducted with the employees of two local governments along the coast and one local government inland in Miyagi Prefecture where the damage was less severe. Questionnaires (975) were distributed and 637 responses were collected (response rate = 65.3%). The results indicated that many participants complained of dissociative disorders and sleep disorders, but not often of physical symptoms, which is suggestive of the risk for PTSD and depression. When ASR scores were compared between the two areas, scores of employees in coastal areas were significantly higher, indicative of more stress, compared to those in inland areas, which confirmed a dose-response relationship with stress. Though ASR scores were determined by disaster experience as shown in previous studies, it was considered necessary to develop mental health care plans for different areas according to disaster conditions, because the determinants of ASR were different from inland and coastal areas.
A stress management program was conducted with junior high school students, mainly by using Self-instructional training (SIT) and then, resulting changes in stress responses and cognitive appraisals perceived as school stress tolerance were investigated. Also, the program was evaluated through a free description questionnaire. Participants were second year junior high school students (N = 216). They were classified into an intervention group (n = 126) and a control group (n = 90). The class-scale stress management program consisting of two sessions, each of 50 minutes, was conducted with the intervention group. The results indicated that the total stress responses score, “irritated-angry feelings,” as well as “helplessness” decreased in the intervention group, compared to the control group. Furthermore, “influence” of cognitive evaluation improved. The above results suggest this stress management program might be effective in junior high school students. The program was evaluated in qualitative ways. It was indicated many participants understood the content of the program and evaluated the class positively. Regarding SIT, almost all participants evaluated SIT positively and recognized the effectiveness of the technique, whereas a few participants mentioned difficulty in developing self-instructions by themselves.
The purpose of this study is to examine the effect of social skills training (SST) on children’s self-efficacy for receiving new classmate. A total of 33 elementary school students in the fifth grade participated class-wide SST, while the other 36 children in the same grade were administered into waiting-list control group. Training sessions were held in the daily-used classroom and targeted two social skills: friendship-making skills and problem-solving skills. Participants’ social skills and self-efficacy for receiving new classmate were measured through self-reported questionnaires. Results showed that children, only in SST group, decreased their social withdrawal and increased self-efficacy for receiving new classmate. Correlational analysis revealed that the change of prosocial behavior through training was positively correlated with the change of self-efficacy. In contrast, the change of social withdrawal and aggressive behavior were negatively correlated with the change of self-efficacy. Finally, methodological issues and future directions are discussed.
The 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan caused a meltdown at Fukushima nuclear power plant. This paper examines the association between demographics or exposure to potentially upsetting events following Fukushima disaster and psychological and physical well-being of mothers with young children 2 years after the Fukushima nuclear accident. The sample consisted of mothers with preschool children still inhabiting in low level radiation contamination area, 30~90 km distant from the plant. In addition to exposure status, the questionnaire obtained data on radiation anxiety, coping behavior, perceived economic stress and stress moderators. The dependent variables were measured by the K6, SQD (Screening Questionnaire for Disaster Mental Health).Overall, mental health of mothers with young children have been polarized as time passes. The conflict about coping behavior to radiation risk and economic stress increased the vulnerability of mothers to subsequent distress, PTSD, depression. It was confirmed a husband’s childcare participation as a stress moderator. Long-term follow-up study is needed to confirm that the progress of mental health of mothers with young children.
The purpose of study was to develop the scale of help-seeking behavior for family in Japanese university students and examine its reliability and validity. In preliminary research, free descriptive data that showed past help-seeking experience from family obtained from one hundred and sixty six undergraduates were classified and categorized. In study 1, data obtained from fifty seven undergraduates were analyzed. Results showed sufficient internal consistency and criterion-related validity. In study 2, further data were obtained from two hundreds and fifteen undergraduates. These data were analyzed to examine internal consistency, criterion-related validity and construct validity. Results indicated that scale of help-seeking behavior for family had positive correlation with both help-seeking behavior for friends and the degree of help-seeking preferences. These findings provided sufficient support for reliability and validity of the scale of help-seeking behavior for family in Japanese university students.