In the USA in 2009 what was known as the “American Recovery and Reinvestment Act” directed more than $US7 billion to make broadband Internet more widely available and used. The elderly were a particularly targeted population, as a group among whom use of broadband Internet remained fairly low in comparison with other groups. George and Sherry Ford (Ford and Ford, 2009) studied more than 7,000 American elderly people to evaluate the impact that the Internet had on their mental health. Mental well-being was measured with an eight-point depression scale, the results being subjected to a battery of statistical tests. Their findings suggest that Internet use can positively affect the mental well-being of elderly Americans, suggesting that it leads to an approximate 20% reduction in depression.
This finding has some remarkable implications. Ford and Ford report that “as depression is estimated to cost the United States about $100 billion annually, expanding Internet use among the elderly may have significant economic payoffs” (Ford and Ford, 2009, p.1). It is notable that there is similar relative expenditure in other countries – and consequent potential cost-savings to be had.
… read the complete story ~ http://issuu.com/onlinetherapyinstitute/docs/tilt_issue5_final?mode=window&pageNumber=14
This article first appeared in the May 2011 issue of TILT Magazine ~ Therapeutic Innovations in Light of Technology.
Stephen Goss, PhD, is Principal Lecturer at the Metanoia Institute, and also an Independent Consultant in counselling, psychotherapy, research and therapeutic technology based in Scotland, UK (http://about.me/stephengoss).