What accounts for the relationship between internet use and suicidal ideation of Korean older adults? A mediation analysis

Heyjung Jun, Myoung Yong Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Objectives: This study sought to examine the relationship between Internet use and suicidal ideation in Korean older adults and the mediating roles of social relationships and depressive symptoms. Method: A nationally representative sample of older adults aged 50 or older (N = 6,306), from four waves of the Korean Welfare Panel Study, was used in the analyses. All analyses were conducted using generalized estimation equations, and the mediation effects of social relationship satisfaction and depression in the relationship between Internet use and suicidal ideation were calculated using the product-of-coefficients approach. Results: Internet use was linked with lower levels of suicidal ideation directly and indirectly via the protective effects of Internet use on lowering depression, which was partially mediated by the positive influence Internet use has on older adults’ social relationship satisfaction. Discussion: The results support previous theories about the relationship between social relationships, depression, and suicidal behavior and prior results about how the Internet might confer mental and social health benefits to older adults. This suggests that the Internet is an important social and health activity that contributes to lowering suicidal ideation in older adults.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)846-855
Number of pages10
JournalJournals of Gerontology - Series B Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences
Volume72
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Sep 1

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Suicidal Ideation
Internet
mediation
Depression
Insurance Benefits
health
Mental Health
welfare
Health

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health(social science)
  • Social Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Gerontology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies

Cite this

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abstract = "Objectives: This study sought to examine the relationship between Internet use and suicidal ideation in Korean older adults and the mediating roles of social relationships and depressive symptoms. Method: A nationally representative sample of older adults aged 50 or older (N = 6,306), from four waves of the Korean Welfare Panel Study, was used in the analyses. All analyses were conducted using generalized estimation equations, and the mediation effects of social relationship satisfaction and depression in the relationship between Internet use and suicidal ideation were calculated using the product-of-coefficients approach. Results: Internet use was linked with lower levels of suicidal ideation directly and indirectly via the protective effects of Internet use on lowering depression, which was partially mediated by the positive influence Internet use has on older adults’ social relationship satisfaction. Discussion: The results support previous theories about the relationship between social relationships, depression, and suicidal behavior and prior results about how the Internet might confer mental and social health benefits to older adults. This suggests that the Internet is an important social and health activity that contributes to lowering suicidal ideation in older adults.",
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