RIC Professor Wins Japan Research Fellowship 

RIC anthropology professor Jason Danely

RIC anthropology professor Jason Danely


Anthropology professor Jason Danely has won a Japan Society for the Promotion of Science Postdoctoral Fellowship and will spend 10 months in Kyoto, beginning this September. He plans to conduct a research study titled “Making Care Meaningful: Worldview, coherence and burnout among family caregivers in urban Japan.”

“It’s a collaborative research project, so I’m hoping that I’ll be able to create some publications, and of course I’m interested in doing a long-term project that would include cross-cultural comparison,” Danely said. “This is a first step. I think it really needs to be done with several study sites in mind.”

Danely will be interviewing and shadowing caregivers - sons, daughters, in-laws and spouses – who are taking care of frail and elderly adults in some fashion. He hopes to immerse himself in their lives to learn about the difficulties and joys they experience in order to help improve caregiver support services. “Coping with stress and avoiding caregiver burnout is a real problem in Japan right now,” Danely said. “I’m going to try as much as possible to understand the caregivers’ whole situation.”

Danely’s interest in Japan and its aging population emerged when he spent his last year of undergraduate studies in that country. He returned later for two years as a graduate student to conduct research on older Japanese adults who draw on religious and spiritual practices to cope with bereavement. “I got to know a lot of caregivers then and this new project seemed like a great match for me,” Danely said. “I was interested in doing more research that was more anthropological in nature.”

Danely will be working with Carl Becker of the Future of Kokoro Research Center at Kyoto University.

Danely and Becker will present their findings on caregiver stress in Japan. Danelyy hopes to form partnerships to continue the work when he returns to Rhode Island College in fall 2014. “Carl Becker and I are really hoping this will produce results that are immediately beneficial to people who are social workers and care managers who might be looking for a better way to detect risk factors for burnout,” Danely said. “This is important not only for caregivers. When caregivers are stressed out, that’s a risk factor for elder neglect.”

The U.S.-based Social Science Research Council, an international nonprofit that strives to nurture new generations of social scientists through fostering innovative research, funds the fellowship.

"This opportunity would not have been possible without the huge support of RIC's President Nancy Carriuolo, vice president of academic affairs Ron Pitt, dean of faculty of arts and sciences, Earl Simson, and chair of the department of anthropology Mary Baker," Danely said.