Cognitive, social, emotional, and subjective health benefits of computer use in adults: a 9-year longitudinal study from the Midlife in the United States (MIDUS)

Hartanto, Andree, Yong, Jose C., Toh, Wei Xing, Lee, Sean T.H., Tng, Germaine Y.Q., and Tov, William (2020) Cognitive, social, emotional, and subjective health benefits of computer use in adults: a 9-year longitudinal study from the Midlife in the United States (MIDUS). Computers in Human Behavior, 104. 106179.

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Abstract

Computer use has been proposed to carry a host of benefits for cognitive function and socioemotional well-being in older adults. However, the literature on computer use remains equivocal as extant research suffers from mixed findings as well as methodological limitations, such as overreliance on cross-sectional designs, small sample sizes, and use of narrow criterions. The current studies (NStudy 1 = 3,294, NStudy 2 = 2,683) sought to address these limitations through the use of a large-scale, nationally representative, and longitudinal dataset. We found that frequency of computer use—over a period of approximately 9 years—longitudinally predicted positive changes in executive functioning, hedonic well-being, eudaimonic well-being, sense of control, optimism, self-esteem, and social relationships with family and friends. We also found that these cognitive and socioemotional benefits are associated with greater computer use over time. In contrast to studies showing that computer use promoted sedentary lifestyles or adverse physical health outcomes, we instead found that computer use longitudinally predicted better self-reported physical and mental health and reduced functional disabilities. The current findings attest to the promising benefits of computer use in promoting healthy cognitive and socioemotional functioning across midlife and old age.

Item ID: 63725
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1873-7692
Keywords: Executive functions; Hedonic well-being; Eudaimonic well-being; Physical health; Computer use
Copyright Information: © 2019 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Funders: John D. Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Research Network, National Institute on Aging (NIA)
Projects and Grants: NIA P01-AG020166, NIA U19-AG051426, NIA T32-AG000204
Date Deposited: 07 Jul 2020 02:41
FoR Codes: 17 PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES > 1702 Cognitive Science > 170201 Computer Perception, Memory and Attention @ 30%
11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1117 Public Health and Health Services > 111712 Health Promotion @ 30%
17 PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES > 1701 Psychology > 170106 Health, Clinical and Counselling Psychology @ 40%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9204 Public Health (excl. Specific Population Health) > 920401 Behaviour and Health @ 50%
92 HEALTH > 9204 Public Health (excl. Specific Population Health) > 920408 Health Status (e.g. Indicators of Well-Being) @ 50%
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