Hope for cross-national comparative work on loneliness and healthy ageing with Japan

by Noriko Cable

Japan is known to be a country with great longevity. However the country faces numerous social challenges from growing social care costs and social disconnection.

The study, Validation study on a Japanese version of the three-item UCLA Loneliness Scale among community-dwelling older Adults translated the 3 item UCLA loneliness scale into Japanese and assessed the validity of the measurement within the Japanese context by implementing the measurement to independent living older adults.

Findings are promising with high reliability indicated by high inter-item correlation and assured convergent validity indicated by moderate correlation with depression and poor social support.

This translated loneliness item is now used in the nationwide survey, Japan Gerontological Evaluation Study which has been used for cross-national comparative studies with England, for example, the England Longitudinal Survey for Ageing.

By adding the loneliness items, we can further explore complex relationships between social relationships (social networks, social support, social participation, and loneliness) and healthy ageing through cross-national comparative studies, thereby better understanding what aspects of social relationships need to be enhanced to promote healthy ageing.