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The relation between social network site usage and loneliness and mental health in community-dwelling older adults

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The relation between social network site usage and loneliness and mental health in community-dwelling older adults

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BACKGROUND:
Loneliness is expected to become an even bigger social problem in the upcoming decades, because of the growing number of older adults. It has been argued that the use of social network sites can aid in decreasing loneliness and improving mental health. The purpose of this study was to examine whether and how social network sites usage is related to loneliness and mental health in community-dwelling older adults.
METHOD:
The study population included community-dwelling older adults aged 60 and over residing in the Netherlands (n = 626) collected through the LISS panel (www.lissdata.nl). Univariate and multivariate linear regression analyses, adjusted for potentially important confounders, were conducted in order to investigate the relation between social network sites usage and (emotional and social) loneliness and mental health.
RESULTS:
More than half of the individuals (56.2%) reported to use social network sites at least several times per week. Social network sites usage appeared unrelated to loneliness in general, and to emotional and social loneliness in particular. Social network sites usage also appeared unrelated to mental health. Several significant associations between related factors and the outcomes at hand were detected.
CONCLUSION:
In this sample, which was representative for the Dutch population, social network sites usage was unrelated to loneliness and/or mental health. The results indicate that a simple association between social network site usage and loneliness and mental health as such, cannot automatically be assumed in community-dwelling older adults.

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OrganisatieFontys Hogescholen
LectoraatLectoraat Health innovations and technology
Gepubliceerd inInternational journal of geriatric psychiatry Wiley, Vol. 30, Uitgave: 9, Pagina's: 942-949
Datum2014-12-11
TypeArtikel
TaalEngels

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