Keywords: social isolation, loneliness, Ict, health, older people.
The gerontological literature underlines the positive effect of social relations on older people’s physical and mental health. In recent years, alongside traditional face-to-face social relationships, new forms of social contacts are made possible by the rapid spread of Ict (Information and Communication Technology), even among older adults. The aim of the study is to analyze whether social isolation and loneliness are associated with health. We also want to assess whether the use of Ict has a direct effect on health and if it represents a mediating factor between loneliness and health. The data are taken from the fourth wave of the longitudinal study InveCe. Ab (Brain Aging in Abbiategrasso). In order to address to our aims, descriptive and multivariate statistical techniques were adopted. Results show that social isolation and loneliness are associated as independent factors with the different aspects of health considered. A significant interaction was also found between loneliness and Ict use in explaining the variability of health measures, particularly of mental health.