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Socio-economic status over the lifecourse and internet use in older adulthood


This study explored associations between socio-economic status (SES) at different phases in the lifecourse and regular internet use among older adults. A sample (N = 11,035) from the 2010 wave of the United States Health and Retirement Study was used. Odds ratios were estimated to explore the relationship between regular internet use in older adulthood and measures of SES in childhood and in adulthood, and cumulative SES. Findings provided support for the lifecourse perspective, suggesting that variations observed among older adults are reflective of cumulative experiences. Three main themes emerged: higher SES in childhood increased the odds of being an internet user in older adulthood; SES advantages tended to accumulate, so that having at least one period of high SES in the lifecourse increased the odds of being an internet user in older adulthood; age did not appear to modify the positive relationship between cumulative SES and internet use.

Corresponding author
Address for correspondence: Michelle Pannor Silver, Department of Social Sciences, University of Toronto, 1265 Military Trail, Toronto, ON M1C 1A4, Canada. E-mail:
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