|Title||Pathways Linking Information and Communication Technology Use and Loneliness among Older Adults: Evidence from the Health and Retirement Study.|
|Publication Type||Journal Article|
|Year of Publication||2023|
|Authors||Zhang, K, Burr, JA, Mutchler, JE, Lu, J|
BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: This study investigated the association between information and communication technology (ICT) use and loneliness among community-dwelling older adults (aged 65+), as well as the mediating effects of social relations, perceived control, and purpose-in-life.
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS: The study used data from the 2014 and 2018 Health and Retirement Study (N=3,026), employing autoregressive path models with contemporaneous mediation to assess the association of two kinds of ICT use, social media communication and general computer use, with loneliness through the pathways of perceived social support, social contact, perceived constraints, and purpose-in-life.
RESULTS: Social media communication had a negative association with loneliness. Perceived social support and social contact mediated this association, but not perceived constraints, or purpose-in-life. General computer use did not have a significant total effect on loneliness; however, a significant indirect effect through perceived constraints, purpose-in-life and social contact was found.
DISCUSSION AND IMPLICATIONS: Our findings extended the existing literature regarding the important factors associated with variation in loneliness among older adults. Health programs and ICT solutions could be more effective in mitigating loneliness if they target the root causes of loneliness, including reducing perceptions of constraints and increasing a sense of purpose-in-life, along with strengthening social relationships.