What do we know about the relationship between internet-mediated interaction and social isolation and loneliness in later life?

What do we know about the relationship between internet-mediated interaction and social isolation... PurposeSocial isolation and loneliness are recognised social, health and wellbeing problems that particularly affect later life. They have been the subject of many recent studies. Studies examining the role of the internet in addressing these problems have multiplied. However, it is still not known whether internet-mediated social interaction has any role in mitigating social isolation and or loneliness. To address this gap, the purpose of this paper is to review previous research that investigates the relationship between internet use for communication and social isolation and loneliness.Design/methodology/approachThis paper reviews the empirical literature published since 2000 and expands on previous literature reviews by including a variety of research designs and disciplines.FindingsDespite the recent increase in studies, there is still little evidence to show internet effects on social isolation and loneliness. It is concluded that future research programmes aimed at reducing them by the use of the internet should include more robust methodological and theoretical frameworks, employ longitudinal research designs and provide a more nuanced description of both the social phenomena (social isolation and loneliness) and internet-mediated social interaction.Originality/valuePrevious reviews are not restricted to internet-based studies and include several types of interventions aiming at reducing social isolation and/or loneliness. They do not attempt to disentangle the internet effects of social isolation and loneliness. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Quality in Ageing and Older Adults Emerald Publishing

What do we know about the relationship between internet-mediated interaction and social isolation and loneliness in later life?

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © Emerald Group Publishing Limited
ISSN
1471-7794
D.O.I.
10.1108/QAOA-03-2017-0008
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

PurposeSocial isolation and loneliness are recognised social, health and wellbeing problems that particularly affect later life. They have been the subject of many recent studies. Studies examining the role of the internet in addressing these problems have multiplied. However, it is still not known whether internet-mediated social interaction has any role in mitigating social isolation and or loneliness. To address this gap, the purpose of this paper is to review previous research that investigates the relationship between internet use for communication and social isolation and loneliness.Design/methodology/approachThis paper reviews the empirical literature published since 2000 and expands on previous literature reviews by including a variety of research designs and disciplines.FindingsDespite the recent increase in studies, there is still little evidence to show internet effects on social isolation and loneliness. It is concluded that future research programmes aimed at reducing them by the use of the internet should include more robust methodological and theoretical frameworks, employ longitudinal research designs and provide a more nuanced description of both the social phenomena (social isolation and loneliness) and internet-mediated social interaction.Originality/valuePrevious reviews are not restricted to internet-based studies and include several types of interventions aiming at reducing social isolation and/or loneliness. They do not attempt to disentangle the internet effects of social isolation and loneliness.

Journal

Quality in Ageing and Older AdultsEmerald Publishing

Published: Mar 12, 2018

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