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article imageStudy finds less depression in older persons who use the Internet

By Marcus Hondro     May 11, 2014 in Health
A recent study in the Journal of Gerontology has found older people who use the Internet are less prone to depression than those who don't go online.
The study found 8.4 percent of older persons using the Net to be depressed, while 12.9 percent of those not using it are suffering from depression.
The author, Dr. Shelia R. Cotten, a professor in Michigan State University's Telecom, Information Studies and Media Dept., said those numbers are the "equivalent of a 33 percent reduction in depression" between the two categories.
“(The Internet is) people using technology to stay connected to others, to feel part of the community and feel like life hasn’t passed them by," she added. Another positive aspect of the Internet enjoyed by older persons is staying connected to family through email and social media.
But there's a catch: Seniors may need help mastering this 21st-century tool, Cotten said.
"You can't put a piece of technology in front of them and tell them to go use it like you can with a child," she said. "You have to start from the beginning, even showing them how to turn on a computer, and show them how technology can be useful in their lives."
The information that Dr. Cotton used in the study was gathered by gleaning data from the Health and Retirement Study, conducted every two years in the U.S. and with information on over 22,000 people. Strictly speaking, not every person in the study was elderly, however, as it collects data from any retired person 50 years of age or older.
More about study on depression and elderly, internet use and depression in elderly, older people and depression
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