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Internet Use and Depression Among the Elderly

25 Pages Posted: 6 Feb 2012  

George S. Ford

Phoenix Center for Advanced Legal & Economic Public Policy Studies

Sherry G. Ford

University of Montevallo

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Date Written: August 15, 2009

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

Ford, George S. and Ford, Sherry G., Internet Use and Depression Among the Elderly (August 15, 2009). TPRC 2009. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1999838

George S. Ford (Contact Author)

Phoenix Center for Advanced Legal & Economic Public Policy Studies ( email )

5335 Wisconsin Avenue, NW
Suite 440
Washington, DC 20015
United States

Sherry G. Ford

University of Montevallo ( email )

Montevallo, AL 35115
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.montevallo.edu

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