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Loneliness and Social Engagement in Older Adults Based in Lombardy during the COVID-19 Lockdown: The Long-Term Effects of a Course on Social Networking Sites Use

1
Golgi Cenci Foundation, Corso San Martino 10, 20081 Abbiategrasso, Italy
2
IRCSS-INRCA National Institute of Health & Science on Ageing, Centre for Socio-Economic Research on Ageing, 60124 Ancona, Italy
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(21), 7912; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17217912
Received: 15 September 2020 / Revised: 21 October 2020 / Accepted: 26 October 2020 / Published: 28 October 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Socio-Economic Research on Ageing)
Older adults are less familiar with communication technology, which became essential to maintain social contacts during the COVID-19 lockdown. The present study aimed at exploring how older adults, previously trained for Social Networking Sites (SNSs) use, experienced the lockdown period. In the first two weeks of May 2020, telephone surveys were conducted with individuals aged 81–85 years and resident in Abbiategrasso (Milan), who previously participated in a study aimed at evaluating the impact of SNSs use on loneliness in old age (ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT04242628). We collected information on SNSs use, self-perceived loneliness, and social engagement with family and friends. Interviewed participants were stratified as trained (N = 60) and untrained (N = 70) for SNSs use, based on their attendance to group courses held the previous year as part of the main experimental study. The groups were comparable for sociodemographics and clinical features. Participants trained for SNSs use reported significantly higher usage of SNSs and reduced feeling of being left out. Compared to pre-lockdown levels, individuals trained for SNSs use showed a lighter reduction in social contacts. These findings support the utility of training older adults for SNSs use in order to improve their social inclusion, even in extreme conditions of self-isolation and perceived vulnerability. View Full-Text
Keywords: social networking sites; lockdown; loneliness; social isolation; communication technology social networking sites; lockdown; loneliness; social isolation; communication technology
MDPI and ACS Style

Rolandi, E.; Vaccaro, R.; Abbondanza, S.; Casanova, G.; Pettinato, L.; Colombo, M.; Guaita, A. Loneliness and Social Engagement in Older Adults Based in Lombardy during the COVID-19 Lockdown: The Long-Term Effects of a Course on Social Networking Sites Use. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17, 7912. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17217912

AMA Style

Rolandi E, Vaccaro R, Abbondanza S, Casanova G, Pettinato L, Colombo M, Guaita A. Loneliness and Social Engagement in Older Adults Based in Lombardy during the COVID-19 Lockdown: The Long-Term Effects of a Course on Social Networking Sites Use. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2020; 17(21):7912. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17217912

Chicago/Turabian Style

Rolandi, Elena, Roberta Vaccaro, Simona Abbondanza, Georgia Casanova, Laura Pettinato, Mauro Colombo, and Antonio Guaita. 2020. "Loneliness and Social Engagement in Older Adults Based in Lombardy during the COVID-19 Lockdown: The Long-Term Effects of a Course on Social Networking Sites Use" International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 17, no. 21: 7912. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17217912

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