Aging well in the digital age: Technology in processes of selective optimization with compensation

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48 Scopus citations


Objectives: Studies show that using information and communication technology (ICT) contributes significantly to elders’ subjective well-being (SWB). Drawing on the Selective Optimization with Compensation (SOC) model, this study aims at exploring the mechanism by which ICT use helps older adults remain engaged in valued life activities and maintain their SWB. Method: Involving teams from seven countries (Canada, Colombia, Israel, Italy, Peru, Romania, Spain), 27 focus groups were conducted with a total of 184 grandmothers aged 65 years and older who use ICT. Results: Analysis led to identification of a series of strategies related to ICT use that may be described in SOC terms. “Intentional limited use” and “Selective timing,”, for example, are clearly associated with selection. In addition, numerous optimizing strategies were found to be applied in “Instrumental” and “Leisure” activities, whereas some ICT uses offered compensation for “Aging-related” and “General” challenging circumstances. Discussion: The study suggests that ICT is used in all three SOC processes and that its effective application facilitates adjustment and enhances SWB. It should therefore be regarded as a resource that supports existing personal and social resources and life management strategies, and even as a Quality of Life Technology that maintains or enhances functioning in older adulthood.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2008-2017
Number of pages10
JournalJournals of Gerontology - Series B Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences
Issue number9
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2020


  • Aging
  • Qualitative research
  • Technology
  • Well-being

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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