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Connectivity to computers and the Internet among patients with schizophrenia spectrum disorders: a cross-sectional study

Authors Välimäki M, Kuosmanen L, Hätönen H, Koivunen M, Pitkänen A, Athanasopoulou C, Anttila M

Received 21 December 2016

Accepted for publication 16 February 2017

Published 27 April 2017 Volume 2017:13 Pages 1201—1209


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Roger Pinder

Maritta Välimäki,1–3 Lauri Kuosmanen,1,4,5 Heli Hätönen,1 Marita Koivunen,1,6 Anneli Pitkänen,7 Christina Athanasopoulou,1 Minna Anttila1

1Department of Nursing Science, Faculty of Medicine, University of Turku, Finland; 2Development Unit, Turku University Hospital, Turku, Finland; 3School of Nursing, Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Kowloon, Hong Kong, SAR, China; 4University of Helsinki and Helsinki University Hospital, Helsinki, Finland; 5Social and Healthcare Department, City of Vantaa, Vantaa, Finland; 6Administrative Centre, Research and Development, Satakunta Hospital District, Pori, Finland; 7Administration Centre, Pirkanmaa Hospital District, Tampere, Finland

Purpose: Information and communication technologies have been developed for a variety of health care applications and user groups in the field of health care. This study examined the connectivity to computers and the Internet among patients with schizophrenia spectrum disorders (SSDs).
Patients and methods: A cross-sectional survey design was used to study 311 adults with SSDs from the inpatient units of two psychiatric hospitals in Finland. The data collection lasted for 20 months and was done through patients’ medical records and a self-reported, structured questionnaire. Data analysis included descriptive statistics.
Results: In total, 297 patients were included in this study (response rate =96%). More than half of them (n=156; 55%) had a computer and less than half of them (n=127; 44%) had the Internet at home. Of those who generally had access to computers and the Internet, more than one-fourth (n=85; 29%) used computers daily, and >30% (n=96; 33%) never accessed the Internet. In total, approximately one-fourth of them (n=134; 25%) learned to use computers, and less than one-third of them (n=143; 31%) were known to use the Internet by themselves. Older people (aged 45–65 years) and those with less years of education (primary school) tended not to use the computers and the Internet at all (P<0.001), and younger people and those with higher education were associated with more active use.
Conclusion: Patients had quite good access to use computers and the Internet, and they mainly used the Internet to seek information. Social, occupational, and psychological functioning (which were evaluated with Global Assessment of Functioning) were not associated with access to and frequency of computer and the Internet use. The results support the use of computers and the Internet as part of clinical work in mental health care.

Keywords: digital divide, technology, mental illness, psychosis, survey

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