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Internet Use and Mental Health among Older Adults in China: Beneficial for Those Who Lack of Intergenerational Emotional Support or Suffering from Chronic Diseases?

Yuxin Wang1,2,*, Jia Shi1,2

1 School of Economics, Hefei University of Technology, Hefei, 230601, China
2 Center for Industrial Information and Economic Research, Hefei University of Technology, Hefei, 230601, China

* Corresponding Author: Yuxin Wang. Email: email

International Journal of Mental Health Promotion 2024, 26(1), 69-80. https://doi.org/10.32604/ijmhp.2023.044641

Abstract

In the 21st century, the rapid growth of the Internet has presented a significant avenue for China to respond actively to the aging population and promote the “Healthy China” strategy in an orderly manner. This study uses panel data from the China Health and Retirement Longitudinal Study (CHARLS) to empirically investigate the influence of Internet use on the mental health of older adults, particularly those who lack intergenerational emotional support and suffer from chronic diseases. This study employs a multi-period difference-in-differences (DID) method and a two-stage instrumental variable approach to address the endogenous problem. Results show that Internet use has improved the mental health of older adults in China significantly. Moreover, Older adults who lack intergenerational emotional support benefit more from Internet use. The beneficial effect is stronger for women and the elderly. Older adults with chronic diseases get greater benefits from using the Internet. Additionally, there is gender and age heterogeneity. Given this, governments should strengthen the Internet infrastructure and create a favorable online environment for older adults to maximize the positive impact of the Internet. Simultaneously, governments should make practical efforts to increase older adults’ Internet usage, particularly those who lack intergenerational emotional support and those suffering from chronic diseases.

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Cite This Article

Wang, Y., Shi, J. (2024). Internet Use and Mental Health among Older Adults in China: Beneficial for Those Who Lack of Intergenerational Emotional Support or Suffering from Chronic Diseases?. International Journal of Mental Health Promotion, 26(1), 69–80.



cc This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License , which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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