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Статья

Internet access at home and its relationship to well-being in deprived areas of London

Open Psychology Journal. 2015. Vol. 8. No. 1. P. 44-53.
Boniwell I., Osin E. N., Renton A.

Purpose. The existing studies of the association between Internet usage and well-being have produced contradictory results. This study explores the associations between Internet access at home and well-being, as well as other lifestyle variables.

Design/methodology/approach. The study was done in a probability sample of 800 community-dwelling adults aged 16 and over in six most deprived areas of the Redbridge borough of London. Using face-to-face interviews, information on the demographics, lifestyle, Internet access at home, happiness, trait hope, and subjective health was obtained. Path analysis and structural equation modelling were used to investigate the associations between Internet access and well-being, controlling for demographic variables.

Findings. Respondents with home Internet access had stronger social ties with friends and relatives, engaged in a wider repertoire of community creative activities and cultural events, and reported having higher social support. Controlling for demographic variables, Internet access at home was a weak but statistically significant predictor of happiness, agency, and negative mental health. The effect of home Internet access on happiness was mediated by social ties.

Research limitations/implications. The correlational nature of the study precludes from making causal inferences. The data suggest that people with low socioeconomic status may derive well-being benefits from having access to information technology which can serve as an instrument for social integration.

Originality/value. The data provide a demographic snapshot of the digital divide in one of the most deprived areas of London.