142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition

Annual Meeting Recordings are now available for purchase

Social Media Experience of Older Adults: Impact on Mental Well Being

142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition (November 15 - November 19, 2014): http://www.apha.org/events-and-meetings/annual
Monday, November 17, 2014

Priya Nambisan, PhD , Department of Health Informatics and Administration, University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee, Milwaukee, WI
Tinapa Himathongkam, MPP , Center for the Study Of International Medical Policy and Practices (CSIMPP), School of Public Policy, George Mason University, Arlington, VA
Mark Meiners, PhD , Health Administration & Policy, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA
Background: According to Pew Research, social media use among older adults has been rapidly increasing in the last few years. It has been suggested that one of the reasons for this is the need for older adults to be in touch with their children (and grandchildren) who live away from home. Lack of studies on the social media experience of older adults has limited our ability to understand the motivation for and the impact of such use.

Objective: The objective of the study is to understand the impact of Facebook use on the mental wellbeing among senior citizens (aged 65 and above).

Method: Participants were asked to fill out an online survey on Facebook use. They were recruited through Facebook pages that catered to older adults (the administrators of these pages posted the link to the survey on these pages). Data was collected regarding their experience in Facebook (experience was categorized into five dimensions – pragmatic, hedonic, empathic, sociability and usability experiences). Data was also collected on the frequency, tenure, type of friends, and number of friends as well as regarding their general mental well-being.

Results: Preliminary results show that sociability and hedonic experience had a positive (statistically significant) impact on mental well-being. Connecting with family members had a positive (statistically significant) impact on hedonic experience and on sociability experience. Study findings are expected to hold important implications for public health as the aging population’s mental health and well-being is becoming an important issue with critical long-term healthcare cost implications.

Learning Areas:

Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Communication and informatics
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Describe the factors that could affect the experience of aging population in social media sites. Discuss the key challenges and issues of social media usage among the aging population. Assess the implications of social media usage for public health.

Keyword(s): Aging, Information Technology

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have over 4 years of experience in health policy research. I have published articles and been part of projects both in infectious and chronic diseases. I hold a Master of Public Policy from Georgetown University and I am working towards a doctorate degree in public policy at George Mason university.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.

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