What do they like? Communication preferences and patterns of older adults in the United States: The role of technology

Shupei Yuan, Syed A. Hussain, Kayla D. Hales, Shelia R. Cotten

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations

Abstract

With the development of information and communication technologies (ICTs), there are increasingly more Internet-based communication methods available for older adults besides traditional methods (e.g., in-person or landline phone). However, older adults’ preferred communication methods remain under-investigated. The purpose of this study is to explore the communication preferences and patterns of older adults in the United States, with emphasis on technologically-mediated environments. In this study, 17 semistructured interviews were conducted with participants from a midwestern state in the United States. The goal was to examine older adults’ communication patterns and preferences with family members and friends, as well as their views about the impacts of modern technology on communication. Three themes (communication preferences and reasons, communication barriers, and the impacts of technology) were generated from the interviews. The findings showed that although face-to-face communication is the most preferred method, telephone communication is the most commonly adopted method. Interviewees also shared different opinions regarding Internet-based communication. The current study illustrated the importance of understanding the preferences and patterns of older adults’ communication needs and desires.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)163-174
Number of pages12
JournalEducational Gerontology
Volume42
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 3 2016
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology

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