15.03.2019 | Originalien
Social support is associated with technology use in old age
Zeitschrift für Gerontologie und Geriatrie
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The use of technological innovations can play a significant role in healthy aging and social participation in old age; however, it is not well understood how social contexts can influence or support older adults’ use of technology. This study explored the associations between technology use, perceived technology-related support and actual technology-related social support. It was expected that older adults who perceived having more supportive resources available would be more likely to receive actual support in technology-related issues, which, in turn would explain a greater use of technology in everyday life.
Material and methods
The data are based on a sample of 107 community-dwelling older adults between 60 and 93 years of age (mean age = 73.66 years, 40% male). Measures included self-reports of actual technology-related support, perceived technology-related support, the use of different devices related to digital information and communication technology and personal characteristics (e.g. chronological age, gender, education and functional limitations). A path model was used to explore the research hypotheses.
Actual technology-related support received was positively associated with a greater number of devices used. Participants received more support with technology when they perceived a greater availability of supportive resources. The actual support received mediated the influence of perceived support and functional limitations on technology use.
The results of this study show that the provision of supportive behavior is associated with the actual use of technology. Moreover, the findings shed light on the individual and contextual factors that explain differences in actual support received.