How do urban-rural social inequalities affect the mental health of residents?
Various countries have reported that the suicide rate is higher in rural areas than in urban areas. I have conducted joint research with Stockholm University, Sweden, to elucidate the mechanism in detail. In addition, as part of the Japan Gerontological Evaluation Study (JAGES), I have investigated how the prevalence of depressive symptoms differs between urban and rural areas among older adults.
- The impact of rural context on suicide mortality and its potential mechanisms: A Swedish registry based multilevel cohort study focusing on country of birth (PhD dissertation)
- Depression is 1.2 times more common in rural areas than in urban areas, but 10% less depression is found among those who live in places from where it takes a long time to the city center.
How do some industrial structures of agriculture affect health?
Structural changes have taken place in the agricultural sector, including intensifying international competition, a decrease in the number of farms and an increase in farm size, and climate change. We have investigated how these industrial structures of agriculture affect the health of farmers and people living in areas where agriculture is thriving.
- People with long farming experience are 1.1 to 1.4 times more likely to be depressed if there are few farms in the vicinity
- High suicide rates in regions with high dairy/livestock output – consistent trends over the past 25 years
- Disparities in infant mortality tend to widen between household occupations: 2 times higher for farming households, 6.5 times higher for unemployed households
Mental health of migrants in rural areas
The number of international migrants and refugees is increasing worldwide, and some countries have implemented policies to promote migrants and refugees to settle in rural areas in order to prevent the concentration of population in urban areas. In light of these social circumstances, our research focuses on migrants residing in rural areas.
The impact of gender norms on mental health
Gender norms are social norms that define desirable behaviors based on gender, such as “You shouldn’t…do that…because you are a man” or “You should…do that…because you are a woman. We have investigated the impact of gender norms on mental health.