Computer use in older adults: Determinants and the relationship with cognitive change over a 6-year episode

K. Slegers, M.P.J. van Boxtel, J. Jolles

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Cognitively challenging activities may support the mental abilities of older adults. The use of computers and the Internet provides divergent cognitive challenges to older persons, and in previous studies, positive effects of computer and Internet use on the quality of life have been demonstrated. The present study addresses two research aims regarding predictors of computer use and the relationship between computer use and changes in cognitive abilities over a 6-year period in both younger (24-49 years) and older adults (older than 50 years). Data were obtained from an ongoing study into cognitive aging: the Maastricht Aging Study, involving 1823 normal aging adults who were followed for 9 years. The results showed age-related differences in predictors of computer use: the only predictor in younger participants was level of education, while in older participants computer use was also predicted by age, sex and feelings of loneliness. Protective effects of computer use were found for measures of selective attention and memory, in both older and younger participants. Effect sizes were small, which suggests that promotion of computer activities in older adults to prevent cognitive decline may not be an efficient strategy. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2011 APA, all rights reserved) (journal abstract)
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalComputers in Human Behavior
Volume28
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2012

Keywords

  • Computer use
  • Internet
  • Elderly
  • Cognitive aging
  • RANDOMIZED CONTROLLED TRIAL
  • PARTICIPANTS AGED 24-81
  • TERM-CARE RESIDENTS
  • ENGAGED LIFE-STYLE
  • QUALITY-OF-LIFE
  • NORMATIVE DATA
  • EDUCATION
  • INTERNET
  • SEX
  • DECLINE

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