The social transition to older adulthood can be challenging for elderly individuals and their families when isolation poses a threat to well-being. Technology is currently providing younger generations with an opportunity to stay in contact with social partners through the use of online social networking tools; it is unclear whether older adults are also taking advantage of this communication method. This study explored how older adults are experiencing online social networking. Specifically, this research addressed how older adults' attitudes towards online social networking are related to their expertise in using computers and the internet for this purpose. A survey methodological approach was employed whereby older adults aged 65 and over were recruited from senior centers across the Central Florida area to fill out a series of questionnaires. The Computer Aversion, Attitudes, and Familiarity Index (CAAFI) was used to measure attitudes and expertise with computers. The Internet Technical Literacy and Social Awareness Scale was used to measure interest and expertise with the internet. The relationship between older adults' use of online social networking and their attitudes and expertise was also investigated. Finally, social connectedness, (measured using the Social Connectedness Scale) and subjective well-being (measured using the Satisfaction with Life Scale) were measured to explore whether older adults receive a psychosocial benefit from using online social networking. Findings showed expertise and attitudes scores were strongly correlated, and these scores were also predictive of online social networking use. The results of this study may help social service providers for elderly individuals begin to understand the many factors associated with using new forms of technology.
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Bachelor of Science (B.S.)
College of Sciences
Dissertations, Academic -- Sciences;Sciences -- Dissertations, Academic
Length of Campus-only Access
Honors in the Major Thesis
Hernandez, Elise, "Older adults and online social networking: relating issues of attitudes, expertise, and use" (2011). HIM 1990-2015. 1199.