Understanding social connectedness of older adults who live alone

Ample evidence underscores the deleterious effects of loneliness on health and mortality. Therefore, it is important that loneliness risks are identified across all ages and appropriate measures are devised to address those risks. Although almost a third of the US older adult population lives alone,...

Full description

Bibliographic Details
Main Author: Prakash, Akanksha
Other Authors: Rogers, Wendy A.
Format: Others
Language:en_US
Published: Georgia Institute of Technology 2016
Subjects:
Online Access:http://hdl.handle.net/1853/54981
id ndltd-GATECH-oai-smartech.gatech.edu-1853-54981
record_format oai_dc
spelling ndltd-GATECH-oai-smartech.gatech.edu-1853-549812016-07-09T03:34:34ZUnderstanding social connectedness of older adults who live alonePrakash, AkankshaOlder adultsAgingLonelinessSocial connectednessLiving aloneSocial mediaTechnology acceptanceAmple evidence underscores the deleterious effects of loneliness on health and mortality. Therefore, it is important that loneliness risks are identified across all ages and appropriate measures are devised to address those risks. Although almost a third of the US older adult population lives alone, there is limited research on the social connectedness (or its lack thereof) in this subset of older adults. This dissertation specifically focused on understanding loneliness (its extent, variance, and sources of variance) in older adults who live alone and do not use the Internet. The results indicate that the loneliness reported in this subset of older adults is greater than that found in general older adult samples. Social isolation (measured by social network variables) and emotional well-being emerged as significant predictors of loneliness in this group. Demographics, personality, and technology experience did not predict variance in loneliness beyond that predicted by social isolation and emotional well-being. To understand if Internet adoption can provide greater opportunities for connectedness, a qualitative study was also conducted. This study focused on the subjective experiences of living alone, relationships with friends, family, and groups in the context of living alone, and the role of technology in supporting connectedness needs. Loneliness was the most commonly reported challenge associated with living alone and was often described in terms of lack of companionship or someone to share one’s feelings with. The older adult Internet users perceived usefulness of Internet-based social media as a compensatory tool for communication, but valued in-person interactions more. Together these studies provided insights into the social connectedness of older adults who live alone. The findings advanced the understanding of the complexities of living alone in older age and helped identify directions to best address social connectedness needs while also supporting older adults’ desire to continue to age in the living arrangement of their choice. Finally, the gaps in research on older adults’ use of social media and its potential to support connectedness for an aging population were also addressed.Georgia Institute of TechnologyRogers, Wendy A.2016-05-27T13:22:57Z2016-05-27T13:22:57Z2016-052016-04-04May 20162016-05-27T13:22:57ZDissertationapplication/pdfhttp://hdl.handle.net/1853/54981en_US
collection NDLTD
language en_US
format Others
sources NDLTD
topic Older adults
Aging
Loneliness
Social connectedness
Living alone
Social media
Technology acceptance
spellingShingle Older adults
Aging
Loneliness
Social connectedness
Living alone
Social media
Technology acceptance
Prakash, Akanksha
Understanding social connectedness of older adults who live alone
description Ample evidence underscores the deleterious effects of loneliness on health and mortality. Therefore, it is important that loneliness risks are identified across all ages and appropriate measures are devised to address those risks. Although almost a third of the US older adult population lives alone, there is limited research on the social connectedness (or its lack thereof) in this subset of older adults. This dissertation specifically focused on understanding loneliness (its extent, variance, and sources of variance) in older adults who live alone and do not use the Internet. The results indicate that the loneliness reported in this subset of older adults is greater than that found in general older adult samples. Social isolation (measured by social network variables) and emotional well-being emerged as significant predictors of loneliness in this group. Demographics, personality, and technology experience did not predict variance in loneliness beyond that predicted by social isolation and emotional well-being. To understand if Internet adoption can provide greater opportunities for connectedness, a qualitative study was also conducted. This study focused on the subjective experiences of living alone, relationships with friends, family, and groups in the context of living alone, and the role of technology in supporting connectedness needs. Loneliness was the most commonly reported challenge associated with living alone and was often described in terms of lack of companionship or someone to share one’s feelings with. The older adult Internet users perceived usefulness of Internet-based social media as a compensatory tool for communication, but valued in-person interactions more. Together these studies provided insights into the social connectedness of older adults who live alone. The findings advanced the understanding of the complexities of living alone in older age and helped identify directions to best address social connectedness needs while also supporting older adults’ desire to continue to age in the living arrangement of their choice. Finally, the gaps in research on older adults’ use of social media and its potential to support connectedness for an aging population were also addressed.
author2 Rogers, Wendy A.
author_facet Rogers, Wendy A.
Prakash, Akanksha
author Prakash, Akanksha
author_sort Prakash, Akanksha
title Understanding social connectedness of older adults who live alone
title_short Understanding social connectedness of older adults who live alone
title_full Understanding social connectedness of older adults who live alone
title_fullStr Understanding social connectedness of older adults who live alone
title_full_unstemmed Understanding social connectedness of older adults who live alone
title_sort understanding social connectedness of older adults who live alone
publisher Georgia Institute of Technology
publishDate 2016
url http://hdl.handle.net/1853/54981
work_keys_str_mv AT prakashakanksha understandingsocialconnectednessofolderadultswholivealone
_version_ 1718341709085016064