The Effects of the Internet on Well-being Among Older Adults Ageing in Place: The Roles of Subjective Income and Social Trust

Jiansong Zheng, Tao Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


The rapid construction of electronic infrastructure in China has accelerated and promoted the application of the Internet, which improves the quality of life of older adults especially when they choose to age in place. However, it remains unclear how the Internet impacts the well-being of older adults, particularly in China. Based on China Family Panel Studies over the four periods of 2014, 2016, 2018, and 2020, panel models and mediation analysis were employed to explore the effects of two dimensions of the Internet, including internet perceptions (perceived importance of the Internet for information retrieval) and internet use, on the well-being of older adults in China. The results showed that (1) the internet perceptions of older adults significantly and positively predicted their subjective well-being; (2) the higher levels of older adults’ internet perceptions were related to the higher degrees of their subjective income and social trust, which in turn promoted their subjective well-being; (3) older adults’ internet use significantly improved their subjective well-being; (4) older netizens with lower levels of subjective income tended to have higher levels of subjective well-being, while social trust did not play a mediating role in the association between internet use and subjective well-being among China’s older adults. The internet perceptions and internet use of older adults exhibited consistent positive effects on their well-being, but there are differences in their mediating mechanisms. Therefore, it is necessary to transform digital services into more age-friendly modules and optimise the internet environment for older adults.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)43-55
Number of pages13
JournalChina Perspectives
Issue number134
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • internet perceptions
  • internet use
  • social trust
  • subjective income
  • subjective well-being


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