Research Article
No access
Published Online: 13 November 2018

Confidant Network and Quality of Life of Individuals Aged 50+: The Positive Role of Internet Use

Publication: Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking
Volume 21, Issue Number 11

Abstract

Studies on the quality of life (QoL) of older adults have tended to focus on sociodemographic, economic, and health characteristics and, more recently, have analyzed the importance of confidant networks. The Internet has redesigned individuals' daily lives and has become one of the main means of communication. In addition to the aforementioned variables, research must also gauge the importance of this technology and how it can influence the relationship between confidant networks and QoL of older adults. This article aims to analyze the contribution of the Internet on the QoL of older adults as well as the manner that it affects the aforementioned relationship. The present study focuses on a sample of 1,906 individuals aged 50+ who are resident in Portugal and were surveyed in the context of the SHARE project (Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe), wave 4. The results of the regression analyses reveal the importance of the Internet on the QoL of older adults. The data also underline the moderating role played by the Internet on the relationship between the confidant network and the QoL of individuals aged 50+, in particular the fact that this technology optimizes the positive impact of confidant networks on QoL. The results obtained thus reinforce the importance of policies aimed at the e-inclusion of older adults as a way to promote their QoL.

Get full access to this article

View all available purchase options and get full access to this article.

References

1.World Health Organization. (2015) World Report on Ageing and Health. Geneva: WHO.
2.Wiggins R, Higgs P, Hyde M, et al. Quality of life in the third age: key predictors of the CASP-19 measure. Ageing and Society 2004; 24:693–708.
3.Gail L, Molzahn A. Predictores of Quality of life in old age: a cross-validation study. Research in Nursing & Health 2007; 30:141–150.
4.Netuveli G, Wiggins RD, Hildon Z, et al. Quality of life at older ages: evidence from the English longitudinal study of aging (wave 1). Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health 2006; 60:357–363.
5.Webb E, Blane D, McMunn A, et al. Proximal predictors of change in quality of life at older ages. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health 2011; 65:542–547.
6.Zaninotto P, Falaschetti E, Sacker A. Age trajectories of quality of life among older adults: results from the English longitudinal study of Ageing. Quality of Life Research 2009; 18:1301–1309.
7.Khan R, Antonucci TC. (1980) Convoys over the life course: Attachment, roles, and social support. In Baltes B, Brim O, eds. Life-span development and behavior. New York: Academic Press.
8.Antonucci TC, Ajrouch KJ, Birditt KS. The convoy model: explaining social relations from a multidisciplinary perspective. Gerontologist 2014; 54:82–92.
9.McPherson M, Smith-Lovin L, Brashears ME. Social isolation in America: changes in core discussion networks over two decades. American Sociological Review 2006; 71:353–375.
10.Gouveia O, Delerue Matos A, Schouten J. Redes sociais e qualidade de vida dos idosos: uma revisão e análise crítica da literatura. Revista Brasileira de Geriatria e Gerontologia 2016; 19:1031–1040.
11.Antonucci TC, Akiyama H, Takahashi K. Attachment and close relationships across the life span. Attachment and Human Development 2004; 6:353–370.
12.Huxhold O, Fiori KL, Windsor TD. The dynamic interplay of social network characteristics, subjective well-being, and health: the costs and benefits of socio-emotional selectivity. Psychology and Aging 2013; 28:3–16.
13.Paúl C. Envelhecimento activo e as redes de suporte social. Revista da Faculdade de Letras Sociologia 2005; 15:275–287.
14.Litwin H, Stoeckel K. Confidant network types and well-being among older Europeans. The Gerontologist 2014; 54:1–11.
15.Gallant MP, Spitze GD, Prohaska TR. Help or hindrance? How family and friends influence chronic illness self-management among older adults. Research on Aging 2007; 29:375–409.
16.Connidis IA, Davies L. Confidants and companions in later life: the place of family and friends. Journal of Gerontology 1990; 45:S141–S149.
17.Kendig HL, Coles R, Pittelkow Y, et al. Confidants and family structure in old age. Journal of Gerontology 1988; 43:S31–S40.
18.Alpass FM, Neville S. Loneliness, health and depression in older males. Aging & Mental Health 2003; 7:212–216.
19.Beckenhauer JIL, Armstrong J. Exploring relationships between normative aging, technology, and communication. Marriage & Family Review 2009; 45:825–844.
20.Dias I. O uso das tecnologias digitais entre os seniores: motivações e interesses. Sociologia, Problemas e Práticas 2012; 68:51–77.
21.Shapira N, Barak A, Gal I. Promoting older adults' well-being through Internet training and use. Aging & Mental Health 2007; 11:477–484.
22.Cornwell B, Laumann EO. The health benefits of network growth: new evidence from a national survey of older adults. Social Science & Medicine 2013; 125:1–13.
23.Antonucci TC, Ajrouch KJ, Manalel JA. Social relations and technology: continuity, context, and change. Innovation in Aging 2017; 1:1–9.
24.Aroldi P, Colombo F, Carlo S. New elders, old divides: ICTs, inequalities and well being amongst young elderly Italians. Comunicar 2015; 23:47–55.
25.Chan M. Multimodal connectedness and quality of life: examining the influences of technology adoption and interpersonal communication on well-being across the life span. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication Multimodal 2015; 20:3–18.
26.Pollet TV, Roberts SGB, Dunbar RIM. Use of social network sites and instant messaging does not lead to increased offline social network size, or to emotionally closer relationships with offline network members. Cyberpsychology, Behavior and Social Networking 2011; 14:253–258.
27.Khalaila R, Vitman-Schorr A. Internet use, social networks, loneliness, and quality of life among adults aged 50 and older: mediating and moderating effects. Quality of Life Research 2018; 27:479–489.
28.Gatto SL, Tak SH. Computer, internet, and e-mail use among older adults: benefits and barriers. Educational Gerontology 2008; 34:800–811.
29.Dickinson A, Gregor P. Computer use has no demonstrated impact on the well-being of older adults. International Journal of Human Computer Studies 2006; 64:744–753.
30.Chopik WJ. The benefits of social technology use among older adults are mediated by reduced loneliness. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking 2016; 19:551–556.
31.Hogeboom DL, McDermott RJ, Perrin KM, et al. Internet use and social networking among middle aged and older adults. Educational Gerontology 2010; 36:93–111.
32.Sum S, Mathews MR, Pourghasem M, et al. Internet technology and social capital: how the internet affects seniors' social capital and wellbeing. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication 2008; 14:202–220.
33.Litwin H, Stoeckel KJ, Schwartz E. Social networks and mental health among older europeans: are there age effects? European Journal of Ageing 2015; 12:299–309.
34.Silva P, Matos AD, Martinez-Pecino R. E-inclusion: beyond individual socio- demographic characteristics. PLos One 2017; 12:1–10.
35.Rafnsson SB, Shankar A, Steptoe A. Longitudinal influences of social network characteristics on subjective well-being of older adults: findings from the ELSA study. Journal of Aging and Health 2015; 27:919–934.
36.Martinez-Pecino R, Delerue Matos A, Silva P. Portuguese older people and the Internet: interaction, uses, motivations, and obstacles. Communications 2013; 38:331–346.
37.Boase J. Personal networks and the personal communication system: using multiple media to connect. Information, Communication & Society 2008; 1–23.
38.Russell C, Campbell A, Hughes I. Ageing, social capital and the Internet: findings from an exploratory study of Australian “silver surfers.” Australasian Journal on Ageing 2008; 27:78–82.
39.Haythornthwaite C. Online personal networks: size composition and media use among distance learners. New Media & Society 2000; 2:195–226.
40.Haythornthwaite C. Social networks and Internet connectivity effects. Information, Communication & Society 2005; 8:125–147.
41.Zunzunegui M-V, Alvarado BE, Del Ser T, et al. Social networks, social integration, and social engagement determine cognitive decline in community dwelling Spanish older adults. The Journals of Gerontology, Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences 2003; 58:S93–S100.
42.Pinquart M, Sorensen S. Influences of socioeconomic status, social network, and competence on subjective well-being in later life: a meta-analysis. Psychology and Aging 2009; 15:187–224.
43.Baltes P, Baltes M. (1990) Psychological perspectives on successful aging: the model of selective optimization with compensation. In Baltes P, Baltes M, eds. Successful aging: perspectives from the behavioral sciences. New York: Cambridge University Press, pp. 1–34.
44.Malter F, Börsch-Supan A, eds. (2013) Share Wave 4 innovations & methodology. Munich, Germany: Munich Center for the Economics of Aging (MEA).
45.Wiggins RD, Netuveli G, Hyde M, et al. The evaluation of a self-enumerated scale of quality of life (CASP-19) in the context of research on ageing: a combination of exploratory and confirmatory approaches. Social Indicators Research 2008; 89:61–77.
46.Kesebeck O, Hyde M, Higgis P, et al. (2005) Quality of life and well-being. In: Health, ageing and retirement in Europe: first results from the survey of health, ageing and retirement in Europe. Mannheim: Mannheim Research Institute for the Economics of Aging (MEA), pp. 199–204.
47.Cotten SR, Ford G, Ford S, Hale TM. Internet use and depression among older adults. Computers in Human Behavior 2012; 28:496–499.
48.König R, Seifert A, Doh M. Internet use among older Europeans: an analysis based on SHARE data. Universal Access in the Information Society 2018;
49.Cotten SR, Ford G, Ford S, et al. Internet use and depression among retired older adults in the United States: a longitudinal analysis. Journals of Gerontology, Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences 2014; 69:763–771.
50.Litwin H, Stoeckel K. (2013) Social network measurement in SHARE Wave Four. In Malter F, Supan-Borsh A, eds. Share Wave 4: innovations & methodology. Munique: Munich Center for the Ecoomics of Aging (MEA), pp. 18–36.
51.Schwartz E, Litwin H. Social network changes among older Europeans: the role of gender. European Journal of Ageing 2018;.
52.Schwartz E, Litwin H. Are newly added and lost confidants in later life related to subsequent mental health? International Psychogeriatrics 2017; 29:2047–2057.
53.Prince MJ, Reischies F, Beekman ATF, et al. Development of the EURO-D scale—a European Union initiative to compare symptoms of depression in 14 European centres. British Journal of Psychiatry 1999; 174:330–338.
54.Mehrbrodt T, Gruber S, Wagner M. (2017) Scales and multi-item indicators. Munich, Germany: Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe.
55.Oskrochi G, Bani-Mustafa A, Oskrochi Y. Factors affecting psychological well-being: evidence from two nationally representative surveys. PLos One 2018; 13:1–14.
56.Motel-KIingebiel A, von Kondratowitz H-J, Tesch-Römer C. Social inequality in the later life: cross-national comparison of quality of life. European Journal of Ageing 2004; 1:6–14.
57.Heo J, Chun S, Lee S, et al. Internet use and well-being in older adults. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking 2015; 18:268–272.
58.Sum S, Mathews RM, Hughes I, et al. Internet use and loneliness in older adults. Cyberpsychology & Behavior 2008; 11:208–211.
59.Sims T, Reed AE, Carr DC. Information and communication technology use is related to higher well-being among the oldest-old. Journals of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences 2017; 72:761–770.
60.Litwin H, Stoeckel K. Engagement and social as elements of active ageing: an analysis of older Europeans. Sociologia e Politiche Sociali 2014; 17:9–31.
61.Martinez-Pecino R, Cabecinhas R, Loscertales F. University senior students on the web. Comunicar 2011; 37:89–95.

Information & Authors

Information

Published In

cover image Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking
Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking
Volume 21Issue Number 11November 2018
Pages: 694 - 702
PubMed: 30335512

History

Published online: 13 November 2018
Published in print: November 2018
Published ahead of print: 18 October 2018

Permissions

Request permissions for this article.

Topics

Authors

Affiliations

Patricia Silva, MS [email protected]
Communication and Society Research Centre, Institute of Social Sciences, University of Minho, Braga, Portugal.
Alice Delerue Matos, PhD
Department of Sociology, Communication and Society Research Centre, Institute of Social Sciences, University of Minho, Braga, Portugal.
Roberto Martinez-Pecino, PhD
Department of Social Psychology, Universidad Sevilla, Seville, Spain.

Notes

Address correspondence to: Patricia Silva, Communication and Society Research Centre, Institute of Social Sciences, University of Minho, Campus de Gualtar, 4710-057 Braga, Portugal [email protected]

Author Disclosure Statement

No competing financial interests exist.

Metrics & Citations

Metrics

Citations

Export citation

Select the format you want to export the citations of this publication.

View Options

Get Access

Access content

To read the fulltext, please use one of the options below to sign in or purchase access.

Society Access

If you are a member of a society that has access to this content please log in via your society website and then return to this publication.

Restore your content access

Enter your email address to restore your content access:

Note: This functionality works only for purchases done as a guest. If you already have an account, log in to access the content to which you are entitled.

View options

PDF/EPUB

View PDF/ePub

Full Text

View Full Text

Media

Figures

Other

Tables

Share

Share

Copy the content Link

Share on social media

Back to Top