Can the internet improve the well-being of the elderly?

Mellor, David, Firth, Lucy and Moore, Kathleen 2008, Can the internet improve the well-being of the elderly?, Ageing international, vol. 32, no. 1, pp. 25-42.

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Title Can the internet improve the well-being of the elderly?
Author(s) Mellor, David
Firth, Lucy
Moore, Kathleen
Journal name Ageing international
Volume number 32
Issue number 1
Start page 25
End page 42
Total pages 18
Publisher Springer New York LLC
Place of publication New York, N. Y.
Publication date 2008-03
ISSN 0163-5158
1936-606X
Keyword(s) internet
social isolation
elderly
Summary In this paper we report on a project that aimed to evaluate the potential of the Internet to reduce social isolation amongst the elderly, and thereby, improve psychosocial functioning. Twenty residents of a retirement village volunteered to be given access to, and training in, the use of computers and the Internet. After 3 months, they exhibited little change in measures of self-esteem, positive affect, personal well-being, optimism and social connectedness. However, they reported that they found the use of the Internet to be of great benefit. Over the 12 months of the study 12 participants discontinued their involvement for a variety of reasons. After 12 months, the eight participants who remained in the study again reported a range of positive outcomes however, quantitative survey data did not confirm these findings of a generally-positive experience. This discrepancy between the qualitative (interview) data and the quantitative (survey) data suggests that impact of the Internet on the wellbeing of the elderly may be more complex than suggested, and broader than was assessed psychometrically. We make specific recommendations about the introduction of computers to elderly with care both in how participants are selected and how their well being is monitored subsequently.
Language eng
Field of Research 170102 Developmental Psychology and Ageing
Socio Economic Objective 920209 Mental Health Services
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
HERDC collection year 2008
Copyright notice ©2008, Springer Science + Business Media, LLC
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30017575

Document type: Journal Article
Collection: School of Psychology
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