Skip to content

    50+: Live Better, Longer

    Font Size

    Seniors Using Computers May Be Less Depressed

    Study Shows Computer-Savvy Seniors Report Fewer Symptoms of Depression
    WebMD Health News

    Aug. 22, 2005 -- Older adults who use computers report fewer depression symptoms than seniors who don't use computers.

    The reasons for the pattern aren't clear, and the new study that showed this was relatively small. But the key might be connecting with other people and learning via computers.

    "Given the social and informational nature of older adults' computer practices -- e-mail, chat rooms, and health information gathering, for example -- it seemed likely that this would be beneficial to an individual's overall mental health," says researcher Kathleen Triche, DSW, CSW, in a news release.

    Computer-Savvy Seniors

    Triche and colleagues presented the finding in Washington, D.C., at the American Psychological Association's annual convention.

    The study included about 200 older adults living in lower Manhattan. Participants were over 65. They filled out questionnaires about computer use, mental health, and tasks of daily living (like cooking, managing money, and shopping for groceries).

    "Those older adults that use computers seem to report fewer depressive symptoms, regardless of how many hours they use the computer," write the researchers.

    Logging On in the 'Golden Years'

    Seniors who used computers had higher annual household incomes and reported greater ease with daily tasks. Taking that into consideration didn't change the results, write the researchers.

    Though participants were randomly drawn from three different ZIP codes, they tended to be white and highly educated. More diverse studies should be done, write the researchers.

    They also call for studies to see if computer usage cuts depression in older adults or if depressed seniors are less likely to choose to use computers.

    Today on WebMD

    Eating for a longer, healthier life.
    woman biking
    How to stay vital in your 50s and beyond.
    womans finger tied with string
    Learn how we remember, and why we forget.
    smiling after car mishap
    9 things no one tells you about getting older.
    fast healthy snack ideas
    how healthy is your mouth
    dog on couch
    doctor holding syringe
    champagne toast
    Two women wearing white leotards back to back
    Man feeding woman
    two senior women laughing