Variability Among Older Adults in Internet Health Information-Seeking PerformanceBy Czaja, Sara J.; Sharit, Joseph; Hernandez, Mario A.; Nair, Sankaran N.; Loewenstein, David; Gerontechnology, Volume 9, Number 1, pages 46-55
Publication Date: Winter 2010
Study examined individual characteristics that affect the performance of Internet search tasks and how the influence of these factors varies within age subgroups of older adults. Study participants were 40 community dwelling adults aged 60 to 83 years, 15 of whom were male, and a comparison group of 10 younger adults 18 to 39 years of age, 2 of whom were male. For some analyses, the older adult sample was evenly divided into a younger-old group aged 60 to 70 years, and an older-old group over 70 years of age. The study compared seniors with high levels of performance on Internet health information-seeking tasks with seniors with lower levels of Internet performance on four measures: (1) domain knowledge, (2) cognitive abilities, (3) Internet experience, and (4) computer attitudes. The seniors were also compared on these factors to the sample of younger adults. In addition, the study examined if factors that predicted performance varied between the younger-old and older-old participants. Results indicated that the high-performing seniors had higher reasoning skills and Internet knowledge than the low performers. They also had higher reasoning skills than the younger adults and the same level of Internet knowledge. Predictors of performance varied within the older age cohort such that in the younger-old group, knowledge about the Internet was the strongest predictor of performance, whereas among participants in the older-old group, cognitive abilities were the strongest predictors of performance. Implications of these results for training and computer interface design are discussed.
Published by: International Society for Gerontechnology (Website:http://www.gerontechnology.info)
International Society for Gerontechnology (Web Site: http://www.gerontechnology.info )
Link to text: http://gerontechnology.info/index.php/journal/article/view/gt.2010.09.01.004.00/1046