Meanings and experiences associated with computer use of older immigrant adults of lower socioeconomic status: Les sens et les expériences associés à l’utilisation des ordinateurs chez les immigrants âgés ayant un faible statut socioéconomique

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Abstract

Background.

Immigrant older adults are a substantial demographic composing 12% to 30% of older adults in the United States and Canada, yet no research has addressed the meanings associated with computer use for low-socioeconomic-status and immigrant older adults.

Purpose.

The study explored the meanings, occupational engagement, and experiences associated with computer use.

Method.

A mixed-methods approach, qualitative participatory action research (photovoice) and survey (Computer Proficiency Questionnaire), was used. Data collection consisted of narratives, focus groups, and Likert scale responses for nine participants.

Findings.

The participants expressed the meanings they associated with computer use as freedom, personal growth, and engagement. Computers promote occupational engagement in social participation, education, and leisure.

Implications.

The findings of personal growth may inform occupational therapy interventions using computers to enable adjustment to changes related to aging and wellness. Social participation and education were motivators for computer use, which may inform computer engagement strategies for this population.

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