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Older Adults’ Online Information Seeking and Subjective Well-Being: The Moderating Role of Internet Skills

Type of publication Peer-reviewed
Publikationsform Original article (peer-reviewed)
Author Hofer Matthias, Hargittai E, Büchi M, Seifert Alexander,
Project Older Adults’ Experienced and Subjectively Perceived Sense of Social Exclusion from the Digital World
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Original article (peer-reviewed)

Journal International Journal of Communication
Volume (Issue) 13
Page(s) 4426 - 4443
Title of proceedings International Journal of Communication

Open Access

Type of Open Access Publisher (Gold Open Access)


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.