Loneliness and social engagement in older adults based in lombardy during the covid-19 lockdown: The long-term effects of a course on social networking sites use

Elena Rolandi, Roberta Vaccaro, Simona Abbondanza, Georgia Casanova, Laura Pettinato, Mauro Colombo, Antonio Guaita

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Older adults are less familiar with communication technology, which became essential to maintain social contacts during the COVID-19 lockdown. The present study aimed at exploring how older adults, previously trained for Social Networking Sites (SNSs) use, experienced the lockdown period. In the first two weeks of May 2020, telephone surveys were conducted with individuals aged 81–85 years and resident in Abbiategrasso (Milan), who previously participated in a study aimed at evaluating the impact of SNSs use on loneliness in old age (ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT04242628). We collected information on SNSs use, self-perceived loneliness, and social engagement with family and friends. Interviewed participants were stratified as trained (N = 60) and untrained (N = 70) for SNSs use, based on their attendance to group courses held the previous year as part of the main experimental study. The groups were comparable for sociodemographics and clinical features. Participants trained for SNSs use reported significantly higher usage of SNSs and reduced feeling of being left out. Compared to pre-lockdown levels, individuals trained for SNSs use showed a lighter reduction in social contacts. These findings support the utility of training older adults for SNSs use in order to improve their social inclusion, even in extreme conditions of self-isolation and perceived vulnerability.

Original languageEnglish
Article number7912
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Volume17
Issue number21
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1 2020

Keywords

  • Communication technology
  • Lockdown
  • Loneliness
  • Social isolation
  • Social networking sites

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

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