Understanding gerontechnology acceptance by older Hong Kong Chinese


Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis

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  • Ke CHEN


Awarding Institution
Award date2 Oct 2013


Technology develops at a tremendous speed and has an immense impact on our daily lives. Gerontechnology aims to apply technology for dealing with problems and difficulties arising from ageing so older people can have the chance to lead lives that are healthier, more independent, and more socially engaging on a continual basis. However, studies have found that older adults were less likely to use technology than younger people. Many older people are not as interested in, nor as proficient, in the use of new technology as younger adults are. The aim of this study was to investigate the usage of gerontechnology products and services by older adults, explore key factors that contribute to the acceptance and non-acceptance of gerontechnology and how these factors operate and interact. A mixed methods design was used, where the quantitative questionnaire survey is combined with qualitative results from focus groups and individual interviews. The Phase I study proposed a Senior Technology Acceptance Model (STAM) for understanding older people's acceptance of gerontechnology. The proposed STAM was empirically tested using data from a cross-sectional survey. A questionnaire was administered to 1012 seniors aged 55 and over by means of structured face-to-face interviews for data collection. The result showed that the STAM was strongly supported and could explain 68% of the variance in the use of gerontechnology. For older Hong Kong Chinese, individual attributes (age, gender, education, gerontechnology self-efficacy and anxiety, and health and ability characteristics) and environmental supports (such as assistance and guidance) explicitly and directly affected technology acceptance behaviour. These were better predictors of gerontechnology usage behaviour than conventionally attitudinal factors (i.e., usefulness and ease of use). In the Phase II study, four focus group discussions and 26 individual interviews were undertaken to understand, explain, and elaborate in more depth the initial findings from the Phase I study. The qualitative findings indicate that usage of gerontechnology by older people is mainly driven by the outcome expectations and social influences, and supported by facilitators, whereas non-use of gerontechnology relates to personal, technological, and environmental barriers experienced. The mixed methods study suggests that personal attributes and environmental facilitators or barriers may outweigh attitudinal variables towards technology in influencing gerontechnology acceptance among older people in Hong Kong. Use of gerontechnology is a synthesis of person, technology, and environment. Personal attributes, such as gerontechnology self-efficacy, knowledge, as well as physical and cognitive abilities, were found to play important roles in shaping elderly individuals' attitudes and behaviours. In addition, facilitating conditions including self-evaluative attitudes, training, assistance, and encouragement were found to have a significant impact on technology acceptance. Nevertheless, older people may not be involved in the use of technology for three reasons: first, their own personal circumstances such as lack of knowledge and functional impairment may impede their ability to use technologies; second, technological barriers like, expense and complexity, constrain their usage; third, the social environment including lack of assistance as well as limited exposure to modern technology impose restrictions on usage. Results of this study offered important academic contributions and pointed out practical implications. Gerontechnology developers, marketers and businesses, the government, nonprofit organizations, and related agencies can benefit from these findings by gaining a better understanding of the current situation and problems regarding technology products and services in Hong Kong.

    Research areas

  • China, Technology and older people, Attitudes, Older people, Gerontechnology, Hong Kong