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The relationship between health-related quality of life and social networks among Japanese family caregivers for people with disabilities

Hirokazu Arai1*, Miwa Nagatsuka2 and Kei Hirai345

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Health Psychology, Osaka University of Human Sciences, Osaka, Japan

2 National Hospital Organization Osaka Medical Center, Osaka, Japan

3 Center for the Study of Communication Design, Osaka University, Osaka, Japan

4 Department of Psychology and Behavioral Sciences Graduate School of Human Sciences, Osaka University, Osaka, Japan

5 Department of Complementary and Alternative Medicine, Graduate School of Medicine, Osaka University, Osaka, Japan

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BioPsychoSocial Medicine 2008, 2:17  doi:10.1186/1751-0759-2-17

Published: 1 October 2008



The purpose of this study was to examine HRQOL depending on whether the participants have family members with disabilities or not. In addition, we examined the relationship between HRQOL and social networks among family caregivers in Japan.


The study has a cross-sectional design. Survey forms were distributed to 9205 people aged 30 and older who visited a dispensing pharmacy within fifteen areas of Japan. We collected data on gender, age, job status, and care giving status for persons with disabilities. Moreover, we assessed support size, social support, and HRQOL. Out of the 2029 questionnaires returned, 1763 (male: 663, female: 1100, mean age = 63.06 ± 13.34) were valid for statistical analyses (the available response rate was 19.15%).


A significant difference in HRQOL was identified between family caregivers and non-family caregivers. Further, in males (N = 101), the results confirmed that only social support predicted the PCS and MCS scores, while other variables did not predict either score. On the other hand, in females (N = 144), it was found from the second step of hierarchical multiple regression analysis that only age explained the PCS score, while job status and support size explained the MCS score.


It is reasonable to conclude that the HRQOL of family caregivers was lower than that of non-family caregivers, and that the HRQOL of family caregivers was estimated by their social networks.