Currently submitted to: Journal of Medical Internet Research
Date Submitted: May 9, 2019
Open Peer Review Period: May 13, 2019 - Jul 8, 2019
(currently open for review)
The Role of Psychological Factors in Older Adults’ Readiness to Use eHealth Technology: Cross-Sectional Questionnaire Study
Information and communication technology (ICT) use among older adults has been on the rise in recent years. However, the predictors and mechanisms behind older adults’ acceptance and use of ICT are not clear.
The aim of the present study was to systematically describe ICT usage among Czech older adults and to evaluate the factors influencing their ICT use and readiness to use digital technology to promote health (eHealth readiness). The primary focus was on psychological factors and the role of older adults’ close persons.
The research utilized cross-sectional survey data from a quota-based sample of Czech older adults (50+) and their close persons (N = 250 dyads). Structural equation modelling framework was used to evaluate relationships between psychological factors, ICT use and eHealth readiness.
Czech older adults’ use of ICT is low with the exception of cell phone usage (cell phone usage at 69.2%, other devices used by 20% of older adults or less). Apart from age (β = -.21, P < .001), eHealth readiness was predicted by ICT use (β = .65, P < .001). eHealth readiness was also indirectly affected by need for cognitive closure: individuals with a high need for closure perceived more barriers to ICT (β = .23, P = .013) and more reported barriers were linked to lower ICT usage (β = -.21, P = .001). The expected positive relationships between eHealth readiness of close persons and ICT use and eHealth readiness of older adults were not significant, but the total effect of eHealth readiness of close persons on eHealth readiness of older adults was positive and significant (β = .18, P = .015), indicating some level of influence of close persons on older adults’ attitudes and/or behaviors.
The present study provided the first systematic examination of Czech older adults’ ICT usage and eHealth readiness. Novel predictors (need for cognitive closure and close persons’ variables) were evaluated and yielded actionable results. More research is needed to clarify the role of older adults’ close persons.
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