How can online communication enhance older adults’ social connectivity? Implementation and adoption issues

Hage, M. L., 2015, Groningen: University of Groningen, SOM research school. 252 p.

Research output: ThesisThesis fully internal (DIV)

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  • Title_and_contents

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  • Chapter_1

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  • Chapter_6

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  • References

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  • Summary

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  • Samenvatting

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  • Acknowledgements / Dankwoord

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It is often assumed online communication can enhance older adults’ social connectivity. However, previous studies have indicated two obstacles. First, older adults tend to be late adopters, or laggards. This raises the question how online communication tools can be implemented among a population that on average is less likely to adopt. Second, the effects of online communication on older adults’ social connectivity are debated. This thesis addresses both issues in a multi-method study of a project implementing online communication tools among the older population of three villages in the north of The Netherlands. This thesis underlines that, first, caution is in place with generic investments in, and promotion of, online communication when aiming to enhance the social connectivity of older laggards. Second, without interventions that aim to change pre-existing socio-economic structures, the implementation of online communication tools reinforces socio-economic inequality. Third, online communication tends to have a disproportional negative effect on the older “have nots” because it benefits the well connected while harming isolated older adults. Fourth, to understand the effect of online communication on older laggards’ social connectivity, a situated change perspective on adoption is required that goes beyond the identification of adoption factors. Finally, implementation and adoption mechanisms are proposed that implementers can use to stir local change.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
Award date24-Sep-2015
Place of PublicationGroningen
Print ISBNs978-90-367-7946-3
Electronic ISBNs978-90-367-7945-6
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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