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Exp Aging Res. 1980 Apr;6(2):125-35.

Computer communication and the elderly.


Elderly's involvement with a society's information resources has been thought to indicate their social status. Moreover, as the societal status of information resources themselves is greater, the status of elderly may be even greater. Computer-based communication systems are leading the transformation of post-industrial societies from previously industrial to primarily informational. As elderly become effective computer users, they may enhance their social status and personal well-being. The present research examines effects of elderly's participation with computer-mediated communication on attitudes toward computers and themselves. A quasi-experimental design involving residents of a retirement community is used with a sample of 30 pre- and 13 post-treatment subjects. The treatment consists of using recreational computer games and computer messaging. Self-administered questionnaires and observer ratings are the primary data collection instruments. Results show that computer use may increase favorability towards computers and self-esteem. Also, the greater the degree of interactiveness of specific computer use activities, the greater user preference. Facilitator and inhibitors of elderly's interaction with computers are suggested.

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