A1 Journal article (refereed)
Health and self-perceived barriers to internet use among older migrants : a population-based study (2022)

Kouvonen, A., Kemppainen, T., Taipale, S., Olakivi, A., Wrede, S., & Kemppainen, L. (2022). Health and self-perceived barriers to internet use among older migrants : a population-based study. BMC Public Health, 22, Article 574. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12889-022-12874-x

The research was funded by Strategic Research Council at the Research Council of Finland.

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editorsKouvonen, Anne; Kemppainen, Teemu; Taipale, Sakari; Olakivi, Antero; Wrede, Sirpa; Kemppainen, Laura

Journal or seriesBMC Public Health


Publication year2022

Publication date23/03/2022


Article number574

PublisherBiomed Central

Publication countryUnited Kingdom

Publication languageEnglish


Publication open accessOpenly available

Publication channel open accessOpen Access channel

Publication is parallel published (JYX)https://jyx.jyu.fi/handle/123456789/81237

Publication is parallel publishedhttps://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8941300/


In older adults, including those with a migrant background, ill health is associated with less internet use. However, it is not known what are the specific self-perceived barriers to internet use among older migrants with different health conditions. The aim of this study was to investigate the associations between different health conditions and self-perceived barriers to internet use among older migrants.

We used the Care, Health and Ageing of Russian-speaking Minority in Finland (CHARM) study, which is a nationally representative survey of community-dwelling Russian-speaking adults aged ≥50 years living in Finland (N=1082, 57% men, mean age 63.2 years, standard deviation 8.4 years, response rate 36%). Postal survey data were collected in 2019. Health indicators were self-rated health (SRH), depressive symptoms, cognitive functioning, and doctor-diagnosed conditions. Linear regression analyses were used to investigate the associations between health indicators and a summary scale consisting of the following barriers of internet use: (1) internet use is too complicated and hard to learn; (2) having concerns about safety issues; (3) internet use is too expensive; (4) physical limitations hinder the internet use; (5) memory problems hinder the internet use. In addition, the two most commonly reported barriers (the first two) were examined separately using logistic regression analyses. The analyses were adjusted for age, sex, education, marital status, local language proficiency, and income support, and the health conditions, and were performed with weights accounting for the survey design and non-response.

After adjustments, spine/back problems (b=0.13; p=0.049), depressive symptoms (b=0.40; p=0.007), and problems in learning new things (b=0.60; p<0.0005) were associated with higher level of overall barriers to internet use. In addition, a number of health conditions were associated with individual barriers, albeit some health conditions appeared protective.

In general, older migrants with declining health experience more barriers to internet use than their counterparts with better health. To provide better access to healthcare for older adults, including older migrants, rapidly changing devices, software and apps need to be modified and adapted for those with specific health-related needs.

Keywordsolder peopleimmigrantsimmigrant backgroundmedia useinformation and communications technologyInternetbarriersstate of healthmental functioningdepression (mental disorders)chronic diseases

Free keywordsdigital information technology; Internet use; older adults; migrants; depression; barriers to internet use; cognitive functioning; chronic conditions

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Ministry reportingYes

Reporting Year2022

JUFO rating1

Last updated on 2024-30-04 at 17:25