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Abstract

Seniors’ social activities are critical in assuring their quality of life, and seniors’ quality of life (QoL) declines with the deterioration of their social activity. Social support from online social relationships has been considered to be important determinants of QoL, and is an important goal of the design of online health communities to support patient-centered e-health initiatives. In this study, we find that, rather than attempting to improve seniors’ quality of life through interventions and online community platforms that are designed directly to increase social interactions and focus on social relationship formation, it is more effective for such online health communities to be designed to facilitate information sharing. Information sharing may be an easy way for seniors to become familiar with the online environment and pave the way for subsequent online social relationships. This study investigated seniors’ online information sharing behaviors and the impacts on their quality of life. Survey data from 130 seniors was used to test our research model. Seniors’ online information seeking and provision indirectly affect their quality of life, and the relative importance of information seeking and information provision varies depending on the seniors’ perceived subjective age, i.e., cognitive age.

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