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Older adults’ perspectives on using digital technology to maintain good mental health: interactive group study

Andrews, J. A., Brown, L. J. E., Hawley, M. S. and Astell, A. J. (2019) Older adults’ perspectives on using digital technology to maintain good mental health: interactive group study. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 21 (2). e11694. ISSN 1438-8871

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To link to this item DOI: 10.2196/11694

Abstract/Summary

Background: A growing number of apps to support good mental health and wellbeing are available on digital platforms. However, very few studies have examined older adults’ attitudes towards the use of these, despite increasing uptake of digital technologies by this demographic. Objective: The present study sought to explore older adults’ perspectives on technology to support good mental health. Methods: Fifteen older adults (>50 years old), in two groups, participated in sessions to explore the use of digital technologies to support mental health. Interactive activities were designed to capture participants’ immediate reactions to apps and websites designed to support mental health, and explore their experiences of using technology for these purposes in their own lives. Template analysis was used to analyse transcripts of the group discussions. Results: Older adults were motivated to turn to technology to improve mood through mechanisms of distraction, normalisation and facilitated expression of mental states, while aiming to reduce burden on others. Perceived barriers to use included fear of consequences, and the impact of low mood on readiness to engage with technology, as well as a lack of prior knowledge applicable to digital technologies. Participants were aware of websites available to support mental health, but awareness alone did not motivate use. Conclusions: Older adults are motivated to use digital technologies to improve their mental health, but barriers remain that developers need to address for this population to access them.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Faculty of Life Sciences > School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences > Department of Psychology
ID Code:80970
Publisher:JMIR Publications

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