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Older adults’ attitudes and barriers toward the use of mobile phones

Authors Navabi N, Ghaffari F, Jannat-Alipoor Z

Received 16 May 2016

Accepted for publication 10 July 2016

Published 30 September 2016 Volume 2016:11 Pages 1371—1378

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/CIA.S112893

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Lucy Goodman

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Richard Walker

Nasrin Navabi, Fatemeh Ghaffari, Zahra Jannat-Alipoor

Nursing and Midwifery Department, Babol University of Medical Sciences, Mazandaran, Iran

Background and objectives: The limitations caused by the process of aging and the prevalence of chronic diseases contribute to reduced performance in physical, psychological, and social areas of life in older people. The use of mobile phones as easily accessible portable tools with a high performance is associated with an increased health literacy, self-care, and independence in older people. The present study was conducted to determine older people’s attitudes toward the use of mobile phones and the barriers to their use.
Materials and methods: The present descriptive study was conducted on a sample population of 328 individuals older than 60 years presenting to health centers across cities in west Mazandaran, Iran. The data collection tools used included a mobile phone use checklist, a questionnaire on older people’s attitude toward the use of mobile phones, and a questionnaire on the barriers to the use of mobile phones. The reliability and validity of these questionnaires were confirmed by the researchers. The data obtained were recorded and then analyzed using SPSS. The level of statistical significance was set at P≤0.05.
Results: According to the results, 80% of the older people had regular mobile phones and 20% had smartphones. In 95% of the male and 80% of the female participants, the greatest use of mobile phones pertained to making phone calls. A total of 5% of the male and 2% of the female participants used the Internet in their mobile phones. A total of 44% of the female and 42.80% of the male participants had poor attitudes (score from 0 to 40) toward mobile phone use. As for the different dimensions of the attitude toward mobile phone use, the highest score obtained by the female participants (71.66%) pertained to the psychoemotional dimension and the highest score in the male participants (72.85%) to the instrumental dimension. The results also revealed the lack of knowledge of English as the greatest barrier to mobile phone use in both sexes. There was a significant relationship between sex and the attitude toward mobile phone use in all the three dimensions examined, the sociocultural, psychoemotional, and instrumental.
Discussion and conclusion: The results of the study revealed that the majority of older people have negative attitudes toward the use of mobile phones as a teaching aid, although they used them for performing daily tasks. Promoting this age group’s knowledge about the different mobile phone applications available to help them and increasing their ability to learn the use of these applications through the mass media, family members, and peer groups can help improve older people’s attitudes toward the use of mobile phones and thus increase their use of these devices.

Keywords: attitude, mobile phone, barriers to use, older people

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