Communications of the Association for Information Systems


Researchers have identified social participation for the elderly as a salient activity that benefits their wellbeing. Along that vein, prior studies have reported that ICT use increases the extent to which the elderly participate socially with one another. However, the literature remains silent on the mechanisms by which ICT use leads to social participation. In this paper, we draw on two prominent IS theories, actor-network theory (ANT) and activity theory (AT), to develop a conceptual framework by incorporating four social participation-oriented factors: ICT use, social participation, social isolation, and loneliness. We used a quantitative approach based on the cross-sectional survey to collect data from 240 elderly people. We analyzed the data using structural equation modeling based on SmartPLS 3.0. We found that the size of the social network constituted the critical factor in the association between ICT use and social participation. The outcome of the model suggests that ICT use does not impact the social participation directly. Rather, social isolation (absence of social network) mediates the relationship between the ICT use and social participation. Additionally, loneliness, one of the commonly observed psychological states in the elderly, weakens the influence of ICT use on social isolation. Our research advances our theoretical understanding about social participation among seniors and helps governments and businesses prepare ICT plans for the elderly appropriately.