Meanings that extra care tenants attribute to using the internet for social contact: a phenomenological study

Wales, Jill Rosemary (2020) Meanings that extra care tenants attribute to using the internet for social contact: a phenomenological study. Doctoral thesis, Northumbria University.

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Social connectedness is one of the key determinants of quality of life in later years, with good social networks enhancing resilience to challenging life events. Older adults may respond to health concerns and changing circumstances, by relocating from life in the community, to an extra care housing scheme. A life transition, such as a housing relocation, may lead to the disruption of social networks, with the attendant risk of loneliness, social isolation and health detriments. With the ubiquity of digital devices, online social contact may enable extra care tenants to maintain their social networks, after a transition from life in the community. However, little is known about extra care tenants’ lived experience of social internet use. This interpretative, hermeneutic, phenomenological inquiry explored the experiences of ten extra care tenants, adopting online social contact, in two extra care housing schemes in north east England. Data collection involved participants in a series of three semi-structured interviews, over a period of eight months. This was supplemented by solicited diaries, kept for two weeks, with participants recording their use of technology for social contact. The longitudinal design of the study enabled a prolonged engagement with the participants and captured their evolving experience of online social contact. Participants found that social internet use supported their offline social relationships, enabling them to maintain their familial roles and long term friendships, after a transition to extra care housing. Additionally, dormant friendships were rekindled online and some new friendships developed. Participants found that their social internet use enabled them to re-establish a continuous sense of their own biography and regain some skills from their earlier years. Drawing on theories of ageing and adaptation, to illuminate the participants’ experience, existing theory was extended and repurposed, for application in the internet age.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Older Adults, Social Relationships, Digital Skills, Loneliness, Supported Housing
Subjects: L700 Human and Social Geography
L900 Others in Social studies
Department: Faculties > Health and Life Sciences > Nursing, Midwifery and Health
University Services > Graduate School > Doctor of Philosophy
Depositing User: John Coen
Date Deposited: 25 Nov 2020 09:12
Last Modified: 17 Jun 2022 08:01

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