Meanings and experiences associated with computer use of older immigrant adults of lower socioeconomic status

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Document Type



Occupational Therapy

Publication Title

From the Nineteenth Annual SSO: USA Research Conference

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Background. Immigrant older adults are a substantial demographic composing 12% to 30% of older adults in the United Statesand Canada, yet no research has addressed the meanings associated with computer use for low-socioeconomic-status and immigrant older adults. Purpose. The study explored the meanings, occupational engagement, and experiences associated with computer use. Method. A mixed-methods approach, qualitative participatory action research (photovoice) and survey (Computer Proficiency Questionnaire), was used. Data collection consisted of narratives, focus groups, and Likert scale responses for nine participants. Findings. The participants expressed the meanings they associated with computer use as freedom, personal growth, and engagement. Computers promote occupational engagement in social participation, education, and leisure. Implications. The findings of personal growth related to computer use may inform occupational science given the integration of this occupation across populations. The study may also inform occupational therapy interventions using computers to enable adjustment to changes related to aging and wellness. Social participation and education were motivators for computer use, which may inform computer engagement strategies for this population.


internet, participation, urban population