Using Skype to Beat the Blues: Longitudinal Data from a National Representative Sample
This paper was funded by the U. S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Veterans Health Administration, Office of Research and Development, Health Services Research and Development (HSR&D) and the HSR&D Center to Improve Veteran Involvement in Care (CIVIC). Dr. Teo's work was supported in part by a Career Development Award from the Veterans Health Administration Health Service Research and Development (HSR&D) (CDA 14-428).
The American Journal Of Geriatric Psychiatry
This study aimed to determine whether use of certain types of online communication technology is associated with subsequent depressive symptoms.
Nationally representative, population-based prospective cohort.
Data were obtained from the 2012 and 2014 waves of the Health and Retirement Study (HRS).
1,424 community-residing older adults (mean age, 64.8) in the United States.
We examined associations between use of four communication technologies (email, social networks, video chat, and instant messaging) in 2012 and depressive symptoms (eight-item Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression scale) at two-year follow-up.
564 participants (39.6%) did not use any communication technologies, 314 (22.1%) used email only, and 255 (17.9%) used video chat (e.g., Skype). Compared to non-users (13.1%, 95% CI: 9.5-16.7%) or those who used only email (14.3%, 95% CI: 10.1-18.5%), users of video chat had approximately half the probability of depressive symptoms (6.9%, 95% CI: 3.5-10.3%, Wald Chi2 test, Chi2(1)=13.82, p < 0.001; 7.6%, 95% CI: 3.6-11.6, Wald Chi2 test, Chi2(1)=13.56, p < 0.001). Use of email, social media, and instant messaging were not associated with a lower risk of depression.
Older adults who use video chat such as Skype, but not other common communication technologies, have a lower risk of developing depression.
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Teo, A. R., Markwardt, S., & Hinton, L. (2019). Using Skype to Beat the Blues: Longitudinal Data from a National Representative Sample. The American Journal Of Geriatric Psychiatry: Official Journal Of The American Association For Geriatric Psychiatry, 27(3), 254–262.