Internet Use and Depression Among the Elderly
25 Pages Posted: 6 Feb 2012
Date Written: August 15, 2009
We employ a dataset of over 7,000 elderly retired persons to evaluate the role of Internet use on mental well-being. Well-being is measured using the eight-point depression scale developed by the Center for Epidemiologic Studies (CES-D). Empirical techniques include single equation regression, instrumental variables and propensity score methods. All procedures indicate a positive contribution of Internet use to mental well-being of elderly Americans, with estimates indicating about a 20% reduction in depression classification resulting from Internet use. As depression is estimated to cost the United States about $100 billion annually, expanding Internet use among the elderly may have significant payoffs.
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