Does Perceived Ageism Widen the Digital Divide? And Does It Vary by Gender?

TitleDoes Perceived Ageism Widen the Digital Divide? And Does It Vary by Gender?
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2020
AuthorsChoi, E-Y, Kim, Y, Chipalo, E, Lee, HYun
ISBN Number0016-9013
KeywordsAgeism, gender issues, Technology

Existing literature presents a widening digital divide among older adults in addition to the consideration of the potential adverse impacts of ageism on internet use among the older adult population. Our study aimed to investigate (1) whether older adults’ perceived ageism will be associated with their use of the internet and (2) whether the relationship between perceived ageism and internet use will be moderated by age groups and binary gender.Using the data from the 2016 Health and Retirement Study, regression analyses were separately performed by gender. Two measures of perceived ageism were considered: (1) self-perception of aging and (2) perceived age discrimination.Our findings suggested that greater exposure to ageism is generally related to less use of the internet. In addition, we found divergent patterns in the relationship between ageism and internet use by gender. For women, a lower level of internet use was predicted by more negative perceptions of aging, whereas men’s internet use was associated with the experience of age discrimination. Furthermore, interaction effects between age groups and ageism varied across gender. The negative perception of aging was more strongly associated with less internet use in older women than middle-aged women. In comparison, the perceived age discrimination predicted less internet use in middle-aged men than older men.Our findings suggest that perceived ageism is significantly associated with internet use, and its association differs by gender.

Citation Key10846
PubMed ID32539099
PubMed Central IDPMC7491432