Universität Zürich

IKMZ - Department of Communication and Media Research

Media Change & Innovation Division

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Older adults' online information seeking and subjective well-being: The moderating role of Internet skills


Hofer, Matthias /

Hargittai, Eszter /

Büchi, Moritz /

Seifert, Alexander

International Journal of Communication, 13, 4426–4443. https://ijoc.org/index.php/ijoc/article/view/10981

As increasing numbers of older adults incorporate the Internet into their lives, it is important to go beyond studying whether being an Internet user makes a difference for this population by examining how specific uses and skills relate to subjective well-being. This study examines the association between online information seeking and life satisfaction as one defining component of subjective well-being among 643 Swiss Internet users aged 60 and over. We find a positive relationship between online information seeking and older adults’ life satisfaction. Inspired by digital inequality research, we then explore whether this relationship is moderated by Internet skills. Results suggest that with increasing Internet skills, the association between online information seeking and life satisfaction gets stronger. We discuss the findings in light of both research on well-being and on digital inequality.