Systems, Vol. 11, Pages 264: The Association between Internet Use and Depression Risk among Chinese Adults, Middle-Aged and Older, with Disabilities

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Systems, Vol. 11, Pages 264: The Association between Internet Use and Depression Risk among Chinese Adults, Middle-Aged and Older, with Disabilities

Systems doi: 10.3390/systems11050264

Authors:
Xiaodong Zhang
Anqi Li
Niuniu Cui
Bin Guo
Hafiz T. A. Khan
Lei Zhang

Background: Globally, nearly 15% of people suffer from various kinds of disabilities, and China has the largest disabled population in the world. The poor mental health status of people with disabilities has become an essential issue in most countries. The main aim of this study was to explore the potential impact of internet use on depression risk among middle-aged and older adults with different types of disabilities. Methods: The data used in this study were obtained from the 2018 China Health and Retirement Longitudinal Study (CHARLS) collected by Peking University. A binary logit model was used to analyze the impact of internet use on the depression risk among adults with disabilities, and the substitute variable method and the propensity score matching method were used to examine the robustness of the results. Results: (1) Internet use was negatively associated with depression risk among disabled people, and the higher the frequency of their internet use, the lower the probability of their depression risk. (2) Different social activities related to the internet had different impacts on the depression risk, and the decline in depression risk was mainly related to watching videos, watching news, and chatting via the internet. (3) Internet use reduced the depression risk of adults with physical disabilities, but had no impact on those with other types of disabilities. Conclusions: Our study suggests that internet use may have a positive spillover effect on decreasing the depression risk of disabled people, but the reduction effect is significantly affected by the social activities related to the internet and the types of disabilities.

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