Aartsen, Marja J. (1); Loos, Eugene (2)
1: VU-University Amsterdam, Netherlands, The; 2: University of Amsterdam, Netherlands, The
Background: Active aging is proclaimed by the WHO as a good strategy to combat the adverse consequences of the aging of societies (WHO, 2002, p. 12). New Internet and Communication Technologies may be in important mean to assist people with active aging. The current paper investigates to what extend developments in physical, mental, and social well-being, and participation in social, economic, cultural, spiritual and civic affairs are enhanced by the use of Internet. Data: Data are from the Longitudinal Aging Study Amsterdam (LASA), an on-going longitudinal, multidisciplinary cohort study on a wide range of factors related to physical, cognitive, psychological and social functioning in older adults in the Netherlands. The baseline data collection was conducted in 1992–1993, with three-yearly follow-up measures and other additional data collections. For this study, data were used from respondents who participated in the fifth and sixth measurements; that is in 2005–2006 (N=1,257) and 2008–2009 (N=985). Results: Logistic regression analyses revealed that, while controlling for age, internet use in 2005/06 significantly changes the odds for a successful development from 2005/06 to 2008/09 in cognitive functioning (OR=13,2, p=.00), in the provision of emotional support (OR=3,31, p=.00), but not in functional limitations, depressive symptoms, provision of instrumental support, loneliness, satisfaction with life, self rated health and social activities. This positive effect of Internet use on cognitive functioning was sustained even when controlling for reversed causation. Conclusion Internet use is beneficial for cognitive functioning, and contributes to an active old age.