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Internet non-use among the Canadian older adult population: General Social Survey (GSS)

TitleInternet non-use among the Canadian older adult population: General Social Survey (GSS)
Year of Publication2019
AuthorsAli-Hassan, H., Sekharan V., and Kim T.
JournalThe Journal of Community Informatics
Pages61 - 77

Benefits of Internet use for older adults include the ability to access informational resources, facilitate social connections and use online communication resources. Further research on identifying the characteristics of older adult Internet non-users is warranted. The present study aims to examine the prevalence and characteristics of Internet non-use among Canada's older adult populations. The analysis was based on the 2016 General Social Survey (GSS)- Canadians at Work and Home. Analysis was restricted to Canadians of 65 years of age or older. The outcome was Internet non-use, which was defined as having not used the Internet in the 30-day period prior to survey data collection. Demographic, socio-economic, health related, and social support and relationship factors were considered for a multivariable logistic regression analysis. Overall, the prevalence of Internet non-use among Canadian older adults was 31.9%. Characteristics significantly associated with Internet non-use included: lower educational achievement, decreased socioeconomic status, poor mental and physical health, having a partner / significant other, and being a cigarette smoker. The province of residence was significantly associated with non-internet use with residents of Quebec being at increased odds of non-internet use compared to residents of British Columbia (OR =2.09, 95% CI= 1.51-2.88). Additionally, increased age among older adults was associated with increased likelihood of not using the Internet. The findings from this study can be used as the basis for future research and to aid in the development of effective policies and programs directed towards the needs of this unique population.

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