Expectations regarding aging among ethnically diverse undergraduates in Japan: a life course perspective on anticipated health and meaning in later life

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Michael Annear
Tetsuhiro Kidokoro
Yasuo Shimizu


This study explored expectations regarding aging among a diverse cohort of undergraduates in Japan. A concurrent mixed methods design was employed with online administration of the Expectations Regarding Aging scale (ERA-12), and open-format and demographic questions among 133 culturally diverse undergraduates in Tokyo. Independent samples t-tests, one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA), descriptive sta­tistics, and thematic analysis were used to explore the data. ERA-12 scores and physical and cognitive function subscale results revealed negative perceptions about the aging process, while scores on the mental health subscale were significantly higher and positive. No significant differences emerged based on gender or cultural background. Qualitative data anal­ysis revealed student awareness of lifestyle influences on health in later life, concerns about current health and risk factors, and potential to tran­scend negative physical changes by finding meaning in other aspects of life. Understanding expectations regarding aging among younger cohorts may inform gerontological education and public health promotion to sup­port a life course approach to healthy aging.


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