Unexplored Costs of Bereavement Grief in Japan: Patterns of Increased Use of Medical, Pharmaceutical, and Financial Services

Carl B. Becker, Yozo Taniyama, Megumi Kondo-Arita, Noriko Sasaki, Shinya Yamada, Kayoko Yamamoto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Bereaved families may experience psychological and physical problems increasing their reliance on medical, pharmaceutical, and financial/legal services. Our Japan-wide survey (n = 1078) researched bereaved who showed increased reliance on medical, pharmaceutical, and financial/legal services. Increased use was most evident in the ‘50’s age bracket, and for unemployed widows; it corresponded less with low annual income than with high income declining significantly after bereavement. Increased users showed higher psychological and physical symptoms of grief, and reported their decline in physical health seriously influencing their work and lives, suggesting “presenteeism”—reduced productivity for those continuing to work. Increased users spent 2.7 times more for medical and pharmaceutical services than those reporting continual use, portending 4 to 10 times more Japanese government expense for this group, half of whom considered their own out-of-pocket expenses a financial burden. These findings warrant further research on cost-effectiveness of interventions to reduce declining health of the bereaved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)142-156
Number of pages15
JournalOmega: Journal of Death and Dying
Volume83
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2021

Keywords

  • Japan
  • bereavement
  • cost
  • funeral
  • grief
  • health
  • medicine
  • productivity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies

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