Computer-mediated communication and social support among community-dwelling older adults: A systematic review of cross-sectional data

Belinda G. Fuss, Diana Dorstyn, Lynn Ward

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Objective: To systematically assess the relationship between computer-mediated communication and social function in older adults aged 55 or older. 

Methods: Embase, PsycINFO and PubMed were searched (database inception to December 2018). Where available, effect sizes (correlation r) with 95% confidence intervals and P values were calculated for individual studies. Of 4,139 eligible articles retrieved, 17 studies involving a pooled sample of 17,640 participants were included. 

Results: Frequent computer-mediated communication was significantly, albeit weakly, associated with higher levels of social support and connectedness (r range = 0.08 to 0.33, P < 0.05). One discrepant negative relationship was noted (r = −0.16, 95% CI [−0.30, −0.02], P = 0.03), involving a distinct sample of gamers. 

Conclusions: Computer-mediated communication is related to amount of social functioning in older adults, although the causal nature of this relationship requires further longitudinal investigation. Sample confounds (eg socio-economic status and successful ageing) may limit the interpretation of these findings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e103-e113
Number of pages11
JournalAustralasian Journal on Ageing
Volume38
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2019
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • aged
  • communications media
  • online social networking
  • social support

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