The present study aimed to examine the relationship between sociodemographic factors and domains of quality of life (QOL) among married adults in Japan who were either rearing or expecting their first child. Our research focus was on whether different sociodemographic variables interacted with each other in predicting the first-time parents’ QOL.
In total, 4374 (mean age = 34.9 years, SD = 8.4, range 18–71) community-based married couples pooled from two surveys provided their sociodemographic information (i.e., age, years of education, and annual income) and responded to the brief version of the QOL instrument developed by the World Health Organization (WHOQOL-BREF in Psychological Medicine 28(3):551–555, 1998).
Series of multilevel regression analyses revealed that household annual income and education were associated with all domains of QOL, and other sociodemographic variables worked in a domain-specific manner. In addition, the effect of educational attainment on psychological domain was significant for mothers only, whereas the effects of household income on psychological and environmental domains were stronger for the younger (below age 26) than the older (over 43) couples.
The effects of sociodemographic factors at couple as well as individual levels on the first-time parents’ QOL were examined for the first time in Japan using couple data. In addition to corroborating previous findings on the main effects concerning these variables, the present study demonstrated the complex patterns of interaction across different levels. These findings provide evidence for the need for financial and health measures targeted at specific parent populations.