Internet Use, Depression and Elderly Well-Being in China

TitleInternet Use, Depression and Elderly Well-Being in China
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2024
AuthorsWang, X
Keywordsdepression, Internet use, Mental Health, Older Adults, Subjective well-being

Background With China's rapidly aging population and increasing elderly internet users, the study aims to investigate the relationship between internet usage and subjective well-being among older Chinese adults, focusing on the mediating role of depression. The research is set against the backdrop of China's elderly population growth and the widespread adoption of the internet, which has been linked to mental health benefits such as reduced loneliness and increased social support.

Methods The study utilizes data from the 2020 China Family Panel Study (CFPS), employing a path model to analyze the mediating effect of depression on the association between internet use and subjective well-being. The sample size, after exclusion criteria, was 4671 participants aged 60 or above. Subjective well-being was measured by happiness, internet use by mobile or computer access, and depression by the CESD scale. Parent-child relationship quality and other covariates were also assessed.

Results The findings indicate that frequent internet use is positively associated with higher levels of subjective well-being in older adults. Depression was identified as a significant mediator, suggesting that internet use can enhance subjective well-being by reducing depressive symptoms. The study also found gender differences, with internet use having a more pronounced effect on male participants' well-being.

Conclusions The research concludes that internet use is beneficial for the subjective well-being of older adults, particularly for those with depressive symptoms. The study suggests that improving internet skills and access for the elderly could be integral to mental health promotion strategies and overall well-being enhancement in later life. The findings highlight the importance of considering depression as a mediating factor in the context of internet use and well-being among the elderly population.

Citation Key14038