Online Use Minimizes Depression Among Elders: Study

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A new research has found that internet wards off depression among the elderly, particularly among those who live alone. The study further mentions that internet use reduced the probability of a depressed state by 33 percent. The conclusion was made after collecting information from more than 22,000 older Americans every two years.

The current study sample included 3,075 community-dwelling respondents observed over 4 waves of data, from 2002 to 2008, yielding a total of 12,300 observations.

The measurement of internet use was based on a question asked to the participants. The researchers measured using an eight-item version of the Centre for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale. Online users had an average predicted probability of depression of .07, whereas that probability for non-users was .105, researchers said. Based on the difference, internet use led to a 33% reduction in the probability of depression.

The study was conducted by researchers from Michigan State University, the Phoenix Centre for Advanced Legal & Economic Public Policy Studies, the University of Montevallo and Centre for Connected Health and Harvard Medical School.

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