In a research paper presented at the 113th Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association, researchers had said that it is possible to regulate the incidence of depression in senior citizens by helping them use the computer to stay connected with people.
The data regarding computer use and depressive symptoms was collected as part of the latest wave of an ongoing longitudinal study that is designed to determine the changes over time in physical health, mental health and social activity of older adults living in lower Manhattan.
The researchers had said that the researchers decided to look into the impact of the growing use of computers by seniors on the hypothesis that those using computers would report fewer depressive symptoms than non-users.
Through observations at one of Village Care's senior information centers in New York City, the researchers had found that computer use there seemed to give older adults a greater connection with the world around them.
Given the social and informational nature of older adults' computer practices - e-mail, chat rooms and health information gathering, for example, it seemed likely that this would be beneficial to an individual's overall mental health, recommends the scientists.
In the computer study, it was determined, after controlling for a number of background characteristics, that seniors who were computer users reported significantly fewer depressive symptoms than their counterparts who do not use the computer.
Researchers also found that computer users tended to be among the younger members of the study group and have higher annual household incomes, while also reporting higher functioning in activities of daily living than the rest of the seniors in the study group.
Participants in the survey included an urban community sample of 206 adults over the age of 65 (with a mean age of 80) that was randomly selected from three zip codes in lower Manhattan.