Phoenix Center: New Study Published in the Journals of Gerontology Says Internet Use Cuts Depression Among Older, Retired Americans By 34%

Increasing Internet Use Among Older Americans Could Reduce U.S. Healthcare Costs

Apr 08, 2014, 10:44 ET from Phoenix Center

WASHINGTON, April 8, 2014  /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Depression is a serious health issue among older adults in the United States, affecting between 5 and 10 million Americans aged 50 and older. Nearly 8% of the aged population reports current depression. The Internet offers older Americans a chance to overcome the social and spatial boundaries that are believed to fuel depression.

In a new paper just published in the latest issue of the peer-reviewed Journals of Gerontology, Phoenix Center Chief Economist Dr. George S. Ford and his co-authors Dr. Shelia Cotten (Michigan State University), Dr. Sherry Ford (University of Montevallo), Dr. Timothy Hale (Harvard University) explore the relationship between Internet use and depression in older, retired Americans. The study applies advanced statistical techniques to a large, longitudinal dataset (years 2002 - 2008) from the Health and Retirement Survey, and finds that Internet use reduces depression in the elderly by 34%.

"Expanded broadband use by older Americans appears to have significant benefits," says study co-author Phoenix Center Chief Economist Dr. George S. Ford. "The positive mental health consequences of Internet use demonstrate, in part, the value of broadband demand stimulus programs aimed at older Americans."

A full copy of the paper,Internet Use and Depression Among Retired Older Adults in the United States: A Longitudinal Analysis, may be downloaded free from the Journals of Gerontology's web page at:  

The Phoenix Center is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization that studies broad public-policy issues related to governance, social and economic conditions, with a particular emphasis on the law and economics of the digital age.

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SOURCE Phoenix Center