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Open AccessArticle

More Frequent Internet Use during the COVID-19 Pandemic Associates with Enhanced Quality of Life and Lower Depression Scores in Middle-Aged and Older Adults

Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Surrey, Guildford, Surrey GU2 7XH, UK
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Academic Editors: Fabrizia Giannotta and Yunhwan Kim
Healthcare 2021, 9(4), 393; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare9040393
Received: 21 February 2021 / Revised: 23 March 2021 / Accepted: 25 March 2021 / Published: 1 April 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mental Health in Times of Pandemic: Protective and Risk Factors)
Concerns have been raised regarding middle-aged and older adults’ mental health during the coronavirus outbreak. The aim of the current study was to characterise associations between internet use (frequency and purpose), depression symptoms and Quality of Life (QoL) during the pandemic, in individuals aged 55–75. Data (N = 3491) were drawn from the English longitudinal study of ageing (ELSA) cohort study collected in June/July 2020 (while social distancing measures were in place). Associations with frequency of use were tested using analysis of covariance (ANCOVAS), controlling for covariates such as wealth and education. Type of internet use (for communication, information search) was also analysed amongst frequent users. Significant effects of frequency of use were observed (p = 0.01 for depression, p < 0.001 for QoL), with lower depression symptoms and higher QoL scores amongst more frequent users. Regarding purpose of use, those who reported using the internet for communication purposes had higher QoL. However, use for health-related or Government services information searching was associated with more depression symptoms. Results provide important information regarding the potential benefits of internet use for middle-aged and older people, suggesting that strategies to increase internet usage (particularly for communication) might benefit middle-aged and older adults’ mental health and counter isolation as the coronavirus crisis continues to evolve. View Full-Text
Keywords: older adults; coronavirus; internet; mental health; depression symptoms; quality of life; loneliness; communication; social distancing; digital divide older adults; coronavirus; internet; mental health; depression symptoms; quality of life; loneliness; communication; social distancing; digital divide
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MDPI and ACS Style

Wallinheimo, A.-S.; Evans, S.L. More Frequent Internet Use during the COVID-19 Pandemic Associates with Enhanced Quality of Life and Lower Depression Scores in Middle-Aged and Older Adults. Healthcare 2021, 9, 393. https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare9040393

AMA Style

Wallinheimo A-S, Evans SL. More Frequent Internet Use during the COVID-19 Pandemic Associates with Enhanced Quality of Life and Lower Depression Scores in Middle-Aged and Older Adults. Healthcare. 2021; 9(4):393. https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare9040393

Chicago/Turabian Style

Wallinheimo, Anna-Stiina; Evans, Simon L. 2021. "More Frequent Internet Use during the COVID-19 Pandemic Associates with Enhanced Quality of Life and Lower Depression Scores in Middle-Aged and Older Adults" Healthcare 9, no. 4: 393. https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare9040393

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