More internet has meant less depression for older people in lockdown, says a recent study from the University of Surrey.
This is good news for MMHS residents who are making use of our creative collaboration with computer help group AbilityNet.
Surrey researchers found among people aged 55 to 75, the wonder of the web has been good for lockdown life. Those who used the internet more – particularly for staying in touch with friends and family – were at lower risk of depression and reported a higher quality of life.
Loneliness and social isolation were major problems under lockdown, raising risk of depression and other health issues. So the university investigated whether more frequent internet use helped reduce that risk for older people.
Researchers studied nearly 3,500 people during the nation’s socially distanced summer of 2020. Participants were surveyed on the frequency and type of their internet usage. The results were reported this spring.
Those who used the internet once a day or more had much lower levels of depression symptoms and reported higher quality of life – compared to those who went online only once a week or less.
Using the web for communication was particularly linked to these beneficial effects. Going online to stay connected with friends and family helped combat the negative psychological effects of social distancing and lockdown in adults aged 55-75.
Conversely, the study found people who mostly used the internet to search for health-related information reported higher levels of depression symptoms. That might be due to a greater degree of worry triggered by reading Covid-19 and other health-related internet sources.
‘We found that older adults who used the internet more frequently under lockdown, particularly to communicate with others, had lower depression scores and an enhanced quality of life,’ said Dr Simon Evans, Lecturer in Neuroscience at the University of Surrey.
If you need help conquering your computer fears and enjoy the internet more, please contact our friends at AbilityNet.