Poster Session
Issue Date: August 2016
Published Online: August 01, 2016
Updated: January 01, 2021
Patterns and Profiles of Information and Communication Technology Use by Older Adults
Author Affiliations
  • University of New Hampshire
Article Information
Geriatrics/Productive Aging / Basic Research
Poster Session   |   August 01, 2016
Patterns and Profiles of Information and Communication Technology Use by Older Adults
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, August 2016, Vol. 70, 7011505121.
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, August 2016, Vol. 70, 7011505121.

Date Presented 4/7/2016

An examination of 453 older adults’ use of information communication technology (ICT) is presented. Analysis of survey data of ICT use, technology experiences, and psychosocial and dispositional correlates of ICT adoption and use are identified. A socioecological model is proposed to inform ICT training.

Primary Author and Speaker: Kerryellen Vroman

Contributing Author: Sajay Arthanat

RESEARCH QUESTION: What are the characteristics of older adults using information communication technology (ICT), self-defined needs of older adults in using and adopting ICT, attitudes of older adults to using and adopting ICT, and demographic attributes that differentiate high- from low-profile users of ICT?
RATIONALE: Declining health and functioning places older adults at risk of social isolation and reduces community participation. Juxtaposed with the changes in independence is the older person’s desire to age in place. ICT can build and sustain older adults’ socioemotional ties, psychosocial health, and access to health and community resources. Occupational therapists need knowledge of the profile, attitudes, and dispositions of older adults toward ICT to promote client-centered ICT training.
DESIGN: Conceptually based on the dual constructs of perceived usefulness and perceived use model, this study examined ICT usage patterns and attitudes to technology and psychosocial factors using a cross-sectional large-sample survey.
PARTICIPANTS: Four hundred fifty-three community-based older adults (166 men and 287 women) ages 65–97 yr were recruited in the New England region. None reported cognitive impairment.
METHOD: Multiple collection methods (interview, paper surveys by mail, and online surveys) were employed to capture older adult ICT users and nonusers. A second data collection phase targeted adults >75 yr and older adults with chronic health disorders, disabilities, or both. The survey included a compilation of standardized measures corresponding to the constructs of the study such as the Survey of Technology Use, UCLA Loneliness Scale, and SF–36.
ANALYSIS: Descriptive and correlational analyses, for example, cross-tabs and χ2 computations, were performed to identify the top-ranking ICT activities and relationships between usage patterns, technological predispositions, and demographic characteristics.
RESULTS: Participants, ages 65–70 with higher education and/or living with a spouse, were more likely to use ICT. Six of the top 10 activities currently performed by 50%–75% of older adults or wished to be performed by nonusers involved social connectedness. The remaining 4 ICT activities related to information seeking for health needs. Instrumental activities of daily living and leisure activities were least likely to be performed. Moderate correlations (p < .01) were detected between usage and predispositional attributes with technology. Higher ICT use was associated with self-perceived sociopersonal characteristics such as persevering, being independent, and having a positive outlook. The majority of nonusers reported that their activities did not change across time and that they felt intimidated and anxious with technology. The performance of ICT-based activities and the desire to perform them was significantly associated with the perceived importance of the activities.
DISCUSSION: Current use and desire to use ICT is clearly motivated by demographic and attitudinal aspects of older adults. By addressing these factors occupational therapists can employ strategies that promote older adults to adopt ICT. We propose a community-centered socioecological model in which the dispositional characteristics of older adults are considered in ICT training programs.
IMPACT STATEMENT: The study findings inform practitioners in developing effective ICT programs to support healthy productive aging within the community. The attitudinal and demographic knowledge is crucial in augmenting ICT-based social connections and independent living for older adults.