Abstract

Objectives: Social Networking Sites (SNSs) may ameliorate loneliness in later life but no measure of SNS use for this population exists. This study describes the development of the ‘SNS Older Adults measure’ (SNS-OA), to improve understanding of older adults’ SNS use and its relationship to social wellbeing. Methods: The SNS-OA underwent initial development, including literature reviews and consultation with target population (n = 9) and experts (n = 9); piloting (n = 74), and evaluation of psychometric properties (n = 263). Results: The final measure comprised three ‘motive’ scales (using SNSs to maintain close ties, maintain and strengthen weaker ties and diversion), and two ‘affect’ scales (positive/negative). Whilst many items were weakly endorsed by participants, the measure demonstrated good reliability (Cronbach α = 0.85; ICC = 0.82) and some convergent validity, with some subscales correlating with a personality measure in hypothesised directions. No statistically significant correlations were observed between the measure and social wellbeing. Conclusions: Despite the measure’s limitations, this research has enabled a better understanding of SNS use in older adults and has important implications for research in this area. Findings also suggest a complex relationship between social wellbeing and SNS use in later life.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-10
JournalAging & mental health
Early online date11 Oct 2019
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 11 Oct 2019

Keywords

  • Social networking sites
  • loneliness
  • measure development
  • social wellbeing
  • technology

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