Understanding Older Adults Gender Differences Regarding the Effect of One’s Self-Perception on the Use of Technologies

By: Lise Van De Beeck   Martine Lagacé  

In this digital era, older adults are the target of pervasive ageist stereotypes depicting them as less capable of adapting to and using new technologies. Previous studies have suggested that one’s self-perception regarding health-related and life satisfaction along with intrinsic motivation to use new technologies may partly counteract the negative effect of age on the use of new technologies. However, the influence of gender regarding those behaviours has yet to be explored. A total of 3075 Canadians (1579 men and 1496 women) aged 60 years old and above participated in an online survey evaluating their use of technologies. The sample was drawn from an international longitudinal study comprised of seven countries. Path analyses with multi-group effects were conducted to evaluate gender differences as for the mediation effect of life satisfaction on age and health satisfaction and the variety of usage of mobile phone and internet. Findings suggest that higher life satisfaction partially mediates the effect of aging and health-related satisfaction in using new technologies. Moreover, gender had an overall effect, with a stronger relationship between age and life satisfaction in men. Life satisfaction also had an indirect effect on the use of internet in men but not in women. Given the close relationship between one self-perception and motivation, older adults reporting positive subjective health and high levels of life satisfaction might feel more capable and motivated to diversify their usage of technologies. Gender has an important role in those links since life satisfaction only affects internet use in men.

Ageing, Technologies, Gender, Life Satisfaction
Social and Cultural Perspectives on Aging
Paper Presentation in a Themed Session

Lise Van De Beeck

PhD Candidate, University of Ottawa, Canada

Martine Lagacé

Associate Vice-President, Research Promotion and Development, University of Ottawa, Canada