Exploratory Research on Determinants of Place of Death in a Large-scale Cohort Study: The JPHC Study

J Epidemiol. 2023 Mar 5;33(3):120-126. doi: 10.2188/jea.JE20210087. Epub 2022 Feb 11.


Background: The place of death and related factor, such as diseases, symptoms, family burden, and cost, has been examined, but social background and lifestyle were not considered in most studies. Here, we assessed factors that are associated with the place of death using the largest cohort study in Japan.

Methods: A total of 17,781 deaths from the cohort study were assessed. The study database was created from the Japan Public Health Center-based Prospective Study (JPHC Study), in which demographic data were collected from Japanese Vital Statistics. Adjusted odds ratios for home death were calculated using logistic regression.

Results: Multivariate analysis adjusted for various factors showed that unmarried status (odds ratio [OR] 2.4; 95% confidence interval [CI], 2.0-2.9), unemployed male (OR 1.3; 95% CI, 1.1-1.5), and high drinking level in male (OR 1.3; 95% CI, 1.1-1.6) were associated with home death. Regarding the cause of death, cardiovascular disease (OR 3.3; 95% CI, 2.9-3.8), cerebrovascular disease (OR 1.9; 95% CI, 1.6-2.2), and external factors (OR 4.1; 95% CI, 3.5-4.8) were significantly associated with home death, compared with cancer. The risk of death at home was significantly higher among unmarried subjects stratified by cause of death (cardiovascular disease: OR 3.2; 95% CI, 2.2-4.7; cerebrovascular disease: OR :5.1; 95% CI, 2.9-9.1; respiratory disease: OR 3.4; 95% CI, 1.6-7.6; and external factors: OR 2.3; 95% CI, 1.4-3.7), but for cancer, the risk of death at home tended to be higher among married participants.

Conclusion: This study found that various factors are associated with home death using the largest cohort study in Japan. There is a high possibility of home deaths in people with fewer social connections and in those with diseases leading to sudden death.

Keywords: factors influencing home death; large-cohort study; place of death.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cardiovascular Diseases
  • Cause of Death
  • Cerebrovascular Disorders
  • Cohort Studies
  • Death*
  • Humans
  • Japan / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Neoplasms / mortality
  • Prospective Studies