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Revista Brasileira de Epidemiologia

Print version ISSN 1415-790X


MEDEIROS, Felipe de Luca et al. Digital inclusion and functional capacity of older adults living in Florianópolis, Santa Catarina, Brazil (EpiFloripa 2009-2010). Rev. bras. epidemiol. [online]. 2012, vol.15, n.1, pp.106-122. ISSN 1415-790X.

OBJECTIVE: To study the relationship between digital inclusion, represented by the exchange of online messages, and functional capacity of older adults living in Florianópolis, Santa Catarina, Brazil. METHODS: Data were from EpiFloripa Idoso, a cross-sectional household-based survey conducted between 2009 and 2010 with older adults (60+ years). Functional capacity was represented by the inability / difficulty to perform basic / instrumental activities of daily living, and formed the outcome variable called functional dependence. The main independent variable was self-reported ability to send and receive online messages using the computer. Prevalence ratios (PR) and 95% confidence intervals (95%CI) were estimated with multivariable Poisson regression models. RESULTS: The sample consisted of 1,656 older adults between 60 and 102 years old with a mean age of 70.39 years (SD = 7.79). Older adults who could send and receive online messages without difficulty demonstrated a significant lower prevalence of moderate / severe functional dependence (PR = 0.61; 95%CI: 0.40 - 0.94) after adjustment for demographic, socioeconomic, health and behavioral factors. CONCLUSIONS: The exchange of online messages has a strong association with functional independence. The causality of this association cannot be determined. Studies support the hypothesis that the exchange of online messages and functional independence have a bidirectional, additive and synergistic association. Longitudinal studies could elucidate the mechanisms involved in this association, in order to support digital inclusion policies for older adults, and to identify the profile of older adults who would benefit the most from digital inclusion.

Keywords : Elderly; Functional Capacity; Communication; Internet; E-mail.

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