The purpose of the current research was to test the psychological impact of learning how to use computers and the Internet in old age, hypothesizing that such activities would contribute to seniors' well-being and personal sense of empowerment. Employing a quasi-experimental research design, we offered a course, conducted in small groups, in computer operation and Internet browsing to 22 older adults (mean age of 80) who went to day-care centers for the elderly or resided in nursing homes. A comparison group of 26 participants (similar in all major respects) was engaged in other activities. Both groups were administered measures of physical functioning, life satisfaction, depression, loneliness and self-control at pre- and post-intervention four months later. Individual semi-structured interviews were conducted with participants who finished the computer course. ANCOVA was employed for controlling the effects of control variables and pre-intervention differences on participants who completed the activities. Results showed a significant improvement among participants in the intervention group in all measures except physical functioning, whereas deterioration in all measures was detected in the comparison group. Computer and Internet use seems to contribute to older adults' well-being and sense of empowerment by affecting their interpersonal interactions, promoting their cognitive functioning and contributing to their experience of control and independence.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This project was supported by a grant from Myers-JDC-Brookdale Institute of Gerontology and Human Development; Eshel, The Association for the Planning and Development of Services for the Aged in Israel and the Fraenkel Family Fund.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Psychiatric Mental Health
- Geriatrics and Gerontology
- Psychiatry and Mental health