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Keywords

African American, Aging, Computer use, Elderly, Gerontology, Healthcare, Inner city, Internet, Older adults, Social support, Urban

 

Authors

  1. CRESCI, M. KAY PhD, RN, FNGNA
  2. YARANDI, HOSSEIN N. PhD
  3. MORRELL, ROGER W. PhD

Abstract

Computers and the Internet offer older adults opportunities and resources for independent living. However, many urban older adults do not use computers. This study examined the demographic, health, and social activities of urban older adults to determine variables that might predict the use and nonuse of computers in this population. A secondary data analysis was performed using the 2001 Detroit City-Wide Needs Assessment of Older Adults (n = 1410) data set. Logistic regression was used to explore potential differences in predictor variables between computer users and nonusers. Overall, computer users were younger (27%), had a higher level of education, were more likely to be employed, had an annual income greater than $20 000, and were healthier and more active than nonusers. They also were more likely to have memberships in community organizations and do volunteer work. Preferred computer activities included conducting Internet searches, playing games, writing, and communicating with family members and friends. The results suggest significant differences in demographic and health-related characteristics between computer users and nonusers among urban older adults. Although about a quarter of participants in this study used computers, the Digital Divide continues to exist in urban settings for scores of others.