“Partnering with seniors for better health”: Computer use and internet health information retrieval among older adults in a low socioeconomic community
Purpose: This health communication project measured the psychosocial influences of computer anxiety, computer confidence, and computer self-efficacy in older adults at six meal congregate sites. The adults completed a five-week education intervention, based on Bandura's self-efficacy model, designed to assist older adults in retrieving and evaluating health information resources on the Internet.
Methods: One hundred thirty-seven participants, ages sixty-five and older, were randomized in a controlled, two-group, pre–post, repeated measures design. Participants in the intervention group received a two-hour training session, once a week for five weeks. The Computer Confidence Subscale and Computer Anxiety Subscale of the Computer Attitude Scale and the Computer Self-Efficacy Measure were administered to both groups at three time intervals: at baseline, completion of the five-week intervention, and six weeks after completion of the intervention. Data were analyzed using repeated measures analysis of variance.
Results: Findings showed a reduction in computer anxiety and increases in computer confidence and computer self-efficacy in retrieving and evaluating online health information (P<0.001).
Discussion: The study suggests an array of possibilities to engage older adults in the use of Internet health information resources to better contribute to their health, independence, safety, and wellness.