Research Streams

The project is structured around three main research streams.

1. Analysis of older people’s social networks, health and well-being – University of Milano-Bicocca.

Goals:

  • derive a profile of older people’s SNSs use
  • find associations between SNSs use and well-being
  • describe older people’s offline network characteristics
  • monitor changes in older people’s network characteristics
  • explore the impact of the changes in older people’s network characteristic on physical health, cognitive functions, and well-being

We aim to describe older people’s patterns of SNSs use, exploring associations with well-being. We will perform secondary analysis of data from EUROSTAT survey “Community Statistics on information Society” (CSIS) in order to derive a profile of elderly SNS users. In addition, we will describe older people’s offline network characteristics, in terms of structure, support and quality and monitor the changes over time occurring in their network characteristics. Last, we will identify the factors that are associated to these changes and explore the impact of the changes in older people’s network characteristic (separately considering losses and additions) on physical health, cognitive functions, and well-being and from “Survey of Health, Aging and Retirement in Europe” (SHARE).

 

2. Study of the impact of older people’ offline and online social networks on physical health, cognitive functions and well-being – Golgi Cenci Foundation

Goals:

  • assess SNSs use and older people’s health, cognitive functions and well-being
  • compare short and long-term effects of SNSa use on health and well-being

We aim to assess causality between Facebook use and older people’s physical health, cognitive functions and well-being, evaluating the short and long term effects of Facebook use. We will conduct an experiment, based on a pre-existing longitudinal study of older people living in Abbiategrasso, a municipality near Milan (the Brain Aging in Abbiategrasso Study -InveCe study). We will compare the short and long-term effects on health and well-being of Facebook use (compared to engagement in a more traditional face-to-face activity), exploiting the research potential of three past waves of data collection.

 

3. Exploration older people’s use of smartphones and SNSs – University of Bath

Goals:

  • explore the way older people use smarthphone and SNSs
  • analyse the impact of SNSs use on social inclusion and intergenerational relationships

We aim to explore older people’s everyday practices of smartphone and SNSs use and their impact on social inclusions and, in particular, on intergenerational relationships. We will investigate in detail older people’s smartphone and SNSs use using innovative digital methods and analysing a specific type of big data, i. e., logs from an app that study participants will install on their smartphones. We will also carry out focus groups and qualitative interviews to better understand older people’s everyday practices of smartphone and SNSs use. We will carry out this study in collaboration with AUSER (the main voluntary association in the field of active aging in Italy), partner in this project  that will contribute to promote the study amongst its members.

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