Posted on May 23, 2014, 6 a.m.
Internet use may reduce depression, among retired men and women.
Late-life depression affects between 5 and 10 million Americans age 50 and older. Shelia R. Cotten, from Michigan State University (Michigan, USA), and colleagues assessed data collected on 3,075 community-dwelling respondents observed over 4 waves of data of the Health and Retirement Study, yielding a total of 12,300 observations. The researchers assessed the extent of Internet use via interview, and assessed depression via a standardized scale. With other factors constant, the authors found that Internet users had an average predicted probability of depression of .07, whereas that probability for nonusers was .105. Based on the difference, Internet use led to a 33% reduction in the probability of depression. Submitting that: “the mechanism linking Internet use to depression is the remediation of social isolation and loneliness,” the study authors conclude that: “Encouraging older adults to use the Internet may help decrease isolation and depression.”
Cotten SR, Ford G, Ford S, Hale TM. “Internet Use and Depression Among Retired Older Adults in the United States: A Longitudinal Analysis.” J Gerontol B Psychol Sci Soc Sci. 2014 Mar 26.