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The existing studies of the association between Internet usage and well-being have produced contradictory
results. This study explores the associations between Internet access at home and well-being, as well as other lifestyle
The study was done in a probability sample of 800 community-dwelling
adults aged 16 and over in six most deprived areas of the Redbridge borough of London. Using face-to-face interviews,
information on the demographics, lifestyle, Internet access at home, happiness, trait hope, and subjective health was obtained.
Path analysis and structural equation modelling were used to investigate the associations between Internet access
and well-being, controlling for demographic variables.
Respondents with home Internet access had stronger social
ties with friends and relatives, engaged in a wider repertoire of community creative activities and cultural events, and
reported having higher social support. Controlling for demographic variables, Internet access at home was a weak but statistically
significant predictor of happiness, agency, and absence of mental health problems. The effect of home Internet
access on happiness was partially mediated by social ties.
The correlational nature of
the study forbids making causal inferences. The data suggest that people with low socioeconomic status may derive wellbeing
benefits from having access to information technology which can serve as an instrument for social integration.
The data provide a demographic snapshot of the digital divide in one of the most deprived areas of London.