Mourners’ dissatisfaction with funerals may influence their subsequent medical/welfare expenses—a nationwide survey in japan

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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Japan’s super-aged mortality rate bereaves millions of people annually, threatening the mental health of the bereaved population. Previous research suggests that participation in satisfying funeral rituals can protect or improve the health of a bereaved population—but pandemic restrictions threaten traditional funeral assemblies. To determine how bereaved mourners’ mental health—and consequent dependence upon medical, pharmaceutical, or social services—are affected by funerals and the aspects of funerals most likely to cause satisfaction or dissatisfaction, we conducted an anonymous nationwide survey across Japan. In total, 1078 bereaved Japanese responded; we analyzed their responses by comparing the 106 citing funeral dissatisfaction with the 972 citing no dissatisfaction. The cohort showing greatest satisfaction with funerals tended to be older widows or parents who lost children; they showed greater grief but spent less on medical, pharmaceutical, or social services thereafter than the dissatisfied. Conversely, mourners with the greatest dissatisfaction toward their interactions with funeral directors and Buddhist priests tended to spend more on medical, pharmaceutical, or social services after bereavement. We conclude that training or education to improve priests’ and funeral directors’ interactions may reduce dissatisfaction with funerals, potentially reducing subsequent costs of medical, pharmaceutical, or social services for the rapidly growing population of bereaved Japanese.

Original languageEnglish
Article number486
JournalInternational journal of environmental research and public health
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Jan 1


  • Bereavement
  • Grief
  • Mental health
  • Prevention strategies
  • Public health costs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


Dive into the research topics of 'Mourners’ dissatisfaction with funerals may influence their subsequent medical/welfare expenses—a nationwide survey in japan'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this