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Internet use and self-rated health among Swedish 70-year-olds: a cross-sectional study

Artikel i vetenskaplig tidskrift
Författare Hanna Falk
Felicia Ahlnér
Therese Rydberg Sterner
Ingmar Skoog
Annika Bergström
Publicerad i BMC Geriatrics
Volym 19
Nummer/häfte 1
ISSN 1471-2318
Publiceringsår 2019
Publicerad vid Institutionen för journalistik, medier och kommunikation (JMG)
Institutionen för neurovetenskap och fysiologi, sektionen för psykiatri och neurokemi
Centrum för åldrande och hälsa (AgeCap)
Språk en
Länkar https://doi.org/10.1186/s12877-019-...
Ämnesord Digital divide, Internet use, Self-rated health
Ämneskategorier Hälsovetenskaper, Medie- och kommunikationsvetenskap

Sammanfattning

Abstract Background: The Internet is increasingly becoming an infrastructure for a number of services, both commercial, public (including health related) and personal. Using the internet have the potential to promote social interaction and social connectedness by upholding social networks and social contacts. However, Internet use is lower in older adults compared to other age groups. This digital divide is considered a risk to the health of older adults since it limits their participation in society, access and use of relevant health related information and services. This study focuses on whether there is an association between Internet use and self-rated health. Method: A cross-sectional population-based sample of 70-year-olds from The Gothenburg H70 Birth Cohort Study (n=1136) was examined in 2014–16. All data was collected using structured interviews and questionnaires. Differences in proportions were tested with chi-square test and ordinary least square regression analysis was used to estimate the relationship between Internet use and self-rated health controlling for health factors, hearing and visual impairment, and social contacts. Results: There is a relationship between more frequent Internet use and good self-rated health (unstandardized β 0.101 p<0.001), and the effect remained after adjusting for all covariates (unstandardized β 0.082 p<0.001). Our results also show that, in comparison to health factors, Internet use is of minor importance to the SRH of older adults, since adding these improved the explanatory power of the model by approximately 400% (from 0.04 to 0.18). Conclusion: Although the direction of the relationship between more frequent interne use and better self-rated health is undetermined in the present study, it can be suggested that using the Internet informs and educates older adults, strengthening their position as active and engaged participants of society. It can also be suggested that those using the Internet report less loneliness and a possibility to establish new computer-mediated relationships within online communities. Further research needs to examine what aspects of Internet use, and in what contexts such positive perceptions arise.

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