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Monday, July 16, 2012

Findings suggest that internet use has a positive effect on depression

It is known that rates of depression increase with age. Research from the University of Illinois found the incidence of depression was at its lowest around the age of 45, and highest among the over-80s Loneliness, social isolation and lack of emotional support are among the reasons for the trend.

In the new study – the biggest so far on the health effects of internet use among older people – participants were asked whether they regularly used the internet and were then assessed for mental illness.
‘Our findings suggest that internet use has a positive effect on depression,’ says Dr Shelia Cotten, who led the research at the University of Alabama and other centres. ncreasing numbers of older people are going online, with the latest statistics from the Pew Research Centre, a US think-tank, showing that a third of over-65s use social-networking sites, compared with six per cent three years ago.

Six per cent of internet users aged over 65 use Twitter. The think-tank found the internet helps
older adults, many of whom have impaired mobility, to keep in touch with friends and family, and expand their social networks.
The study, based on a survey of almost 8,000 men and women aged over 50, shows that regular users of social-networking sites are almost a third less likely to be diagnosed with depression compared with non-users.

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