Title

Using Skype to Beat the Blues: Longitudinal Data from a National Representative Sample

Publication Title

The American Journal Of Geriatric Psychiatry

Document Type

Citation

Publication Date

3-1-2019

Abstract

Objectives

This study aimed to determine whether use of certain types of online communication technology is associated with subsequent depressive symptoms.

Design

Nationally representative, population-based prospective cohort.

Setting

Data were obtained from the 2012 and 2014 waves of the Health and Retirement Study (HRS).

Participants

1,424 community-residing older adults (mean age, 64.8) in the United States.

Measurements

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.

Results

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.

Conclusions

Older adults who use video chat such as Skype, but not other common communication technologies, have a lower risk of developing depression.

Description

Copyright © 2019 Elsevier B.V. or its licensors or contributors.

DOI

10.1016/j.jagp.2018.10.014

Persistent Identifier

https://archives.pdx.edu/ds/psu/28468

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