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The Digital Divide and Veterans’ Health: Differences in Self-reported Health by Internet Usage

Sat, August 11, 2:30 to 4:10pm, Philadelphia Marriott Downtown, Level 4, Franklin Hall 2

Abstract

The implications of the digital divide on health inequality among American veterans have been discussed extensively in sociological research; however, it remains unclear what is the actual association effect of Internet use over health. The relevancy of this link is more substantial with the Veterans Administration’s emphasis on eHealth and telehealth services —health services that complement or replace face-to-face services and are offered via online platforms. This paper examines this question by addressing the growing digital gaps in the veteran population, looking at the association of frequency of Internet use and self-reported health. We find that compared to those who use the Internet daily, those who use the Internet less frequently have higher odds of reporting “fair” or “poor” on their health. Our results suggest that veterans who use the Internet more frequently are healthier. We conclude by discussing potential policy interventions with emphasis on those who are left behind.

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