Japanese social security systems and institutions for the elderly, as well as the general attitude toward elderly care services among the Japanese population, have been undergoing a dramatic change. By examining the association between institutional trust, which is a representative element of social capital, and anxiety regarding receiving elderly care, we can uncover clues toward building a more robust social security system for the elderly. This study examines the relationship between institutional trust, in the national social security and municipal healthcare systems for the elderly, and anxiety with respect to receiving elderly care among the general Japanese population. A cross-sectional survey was conducted using a self-administered questionnaire that was returned by mail in January and February 2005. The target population was 4735 community residents aged 2075 years, who lived in the city of Koka, Shiga, Japan. A total of 2264 questionnaires were included in the analysis. A binominal logistic regression analysis showed that responses of 'trust' [odds ratio (OR): 2.09, 95 confidence interval (95 CI): 1.014.30] and 'strongly trust' (OR: 3.80, 95 CI: 1.559.31) for the national system were associated with not having anxiety regarding elderly care, compared with the reference category of feeling strongly distrust. However, trust in the municipal system showed no association with this anxiety. These results indicate the importance of developing strategies to increase a common trust in the national care services for the elderly to reduce the anxiety people feel regarding whether they will be able to receive elderly care when required.
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