Relationship between internet behaviors and social engagement in middle-aged and older adults in Taiwan

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Aim: To examine older adults’ Internet use patterns and its relationship with social engagement. Methods: Telephonic interview data of older Internet users from two urban and two rural areas were analyzed (N = 248). Cluster analysis was used to identify their Internet use patterns. Multinomial logistic regression identified characteristics associated with the Internet usage groups, and the multiple regression was used to examine if the Internet usage pattern was associated with social engagement in real life. Results: The majority of older adults in Taiwan using the Internet were considered Leisure users (32%). Others were Sporadic (26%), Instrumental (21%), and Eager users (21%). Leisure and Eager users, but not Instrumental users, had significantly higher scores on social engagement compared with Sporadic users after controlling for sociodemographic and behavioral covariates. Eager Internet users were associated with 22.8% increase in the social engagement level, and Leisure users were associated with 31.2% increase in the social engagement level. Conclusions: Older adults with different Internet behaviors were associated with distinct sociodemographic and social engagement behaviors. Causal relationship is warranted for further investigation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number416
JournalInternational journal of environmental research and public health
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Jan 1

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

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