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Research indicates that Internet use positively influences cognitive functioning in later life, but we do not know the behavioral pathways that explain this association. This study explored the role of participation in activities as a potential mediator of the relationship between Internet use and cognitive functioning over a 4-year period. We analyzed representative data from the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE). The sample included 8353 European participants between 50 and 97 years of age. We used data from 2013 (T1), 2015 (T2), and 2017 (T3). Participants reported whether they participated in a diverse range of social and leisure activities. In addition, they provided information about their Internet use as well as cognitive functioning measures. Findings from cross-lagged panel analysis indicated a positive association between Internet use and change in cognition over the course of 4 years. This relationship was partly mediated by the number of reported activities. Internet use was positively associated with the change in activities after 2 years, which, in turn, positively predicted cognitive functioning 2 more years later. This is the first study that explores the temporal sequence of Internet use, participation in activities, and cognitive functioning. It sheds light on the mechanisms that account for the positive effects of Internet use on healthy aging.
Understanding personal relationships throughout the life course is one of the most crucial issues in the behavioral and social sciences. This book brings together perspectives from different disciplines on individual development and personal relationships across the life span. The book addresses two pertinent dimensions of personal relationships: 1) structures of relationship networks (e.g. kin vs non-kin, peripheral vs intimate, short-term vs long-term) and 2) processes (i.e. change or stability) and outcomes of personal relationships across the life span. The book stimulates discussion of personal relationships as resources for and outcomes of individual development throughout the life course. Different qualities of personal relationships serve as catalysts for individual development. At the same time, relationship qualities reflect changes of developing individuals. The book does not give exclusive priority to one phase of the human life span. Rather, each chapter addresses social development across the entire life span from childhood to later adulthood.
The chapter addresses mechanisms and processes underlying the life span ontogeny of social motivation. Six propositions on the life span development of personal relationships are presented. From birth to death individuals are active agents, who coregulate the structure, function, and quality of their social worlds in accordance with their age-specific needs and resources. An individual's developmental resources determine the lifelong salience and outcomes of two kinds of basic goal commitments, a striving for social agency and a striving for belongingness in one's social world. The interplay and dynamic between these two sets of goals determines an individual's interpersonal functioning and competence. A goal-resource-congruence model of social self-regulation suggests that individuals may benefit from matching their social strivings to their resources and potentials.
Why do individuals seek to maintain personal relationships over time? Few issues appear as self-evident and yet at the same time inexplicable. At birth everyone has a mother and a father. Most people have siblings, uncles and aunts, cousins, nephews and nieces. Very rarely do people grow up without an intimate partner, a close friend, or acquaintances. It seems impossible to imagine a well-functioning society without the networks of strong and weak ties that transmit social information, sanction desirable or undesirable behaviors, and provide a social backup in times of misery (Fiske, 1992; Granovetter, 1973; Parsons, 1961; Wiese, 1955). An individual's personal network of relationships constitutes a complex structure and is as much an outcome as it is a determinant of behavioral development.
Karen L. Fingerman, Associate Professor of Child and Family Studies and Berner Hanley University, Scholar Purdue University,
Frieder R. Lang, Professor of Developmental Psychology, Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg
This chapter introduces a life-span perspective on personal relationships by emphasizing how the structure, processes, and outcomes of relationships are interwoven with human development. The social arena serves as a metaphor for changes and continuities individuals experience in their social partners, activities, and goals over the life span. We consider mutual influences between individual development and relationship partners, including 1) individual changes, 2) the development of relationships themselves, and 3) the context of the larger social network. A life-span understanding of personal relationships considers the structure of relationships (e.g., the types of social partners individuals of different ages interact with), the processes underlying personal relationships (e.g., personality, motivation for social contact, cognition), and the outcomes or precursors of relationship change across the life span.
We, the editors of this book, are parents of young children. As a result, when the weather allows it, we spend considerable time at our local parks and frequently have the opportunity to observe a microcosm of life-span relationships. People of all ages engage in activities, from sitting under a tree watching the clouds, to playing softball in mixed groups of adults and children. Our little ones vie for attention among the other children who run around the slide or swings. Older children throw balls or participate in organized activities. A group of teenagers sit apart and listen to music on a portable compact disc player. Multiple generations come together for a family picnic. Young couples hold hands as they stroll.