Titel des Dissertationsvorhabens

Janina Müller: Connecting Older Adults and Their Families through Social Technology

Stipendiatin: Janina Müller BSc.MSc.

Laufzeit des Stipendiums: 1. September 2019 bis 30. Juni 2020

Older adults often face problems with social isolation, which is a risk factor for poorer mental and physical health. As the number of older adults increases and geographical distances grows between family members, finding ways to encourage intergenerational communication and strengthen family relationships is important for public health. New forms of social technologies (such as WhatsApp, Skype, and Facetime) provide opportunities to facilitate social connectedness with family members. Understanding older adults’ behaviors and perceptions related to digital communication tools can inform the development of interventions to increase the adoption of these tools for social communication.

My research topic examines social isolation in elderly family members and aims to test an intervention to increase contact between young adults and their grandparents through training in online (or Internet-based) video or phone calls. The first study aims to explore facilitators and barriers among grandparents and their adult grandchildren using a cross-sectional design. The findings of the first study will inform the development of a psychoeducation intervention meant to reduce psychological, education, and technical barriers so that communication between elderly grandparents and their adult grandchildren can be improved. The secondary objective is to evaluate the impact of this intervention on health and well-being outcomes among older adults in a randomized controlled trial.