|Title||Telehealth uptake among middle-aged and older Americans during COVID-19: chronic conditions, social media communication, and race/ethnicity.|
|Publication Type||Journal Article|
|Year of Publication||Forthcoming|
|Authors||Choi, SL, Hites, L, Bolland, AC, Lee, J, Payne-Foster, P, Bissell, K|
|Journal||Aging & Mental Health|
|Keywords||Comorbidity, COVID-19, midlife, Race/ethnicity, social media communication, telehealth|
OBJECTIVES: This study investigated whether and to what extent constructs of the protection motivation theory of health (PMT)-threat appraisal (perceived vulnerability/severity) and coping appraisal (response efficacy and self-efficacy)-are related to telehealth engagement during the COVID-19 pandemic, and how these associations differ by race/ethnicity among middle-aged and older Americans.
METHODS: Data were from the 2020 Health and Retirement Study. Multivariable ordinary least-squares regression analyses were computed adjusting for health and sociodemographic factors.
RESULTS: Some PMT constructs are useful in understanding telehealth uptake. Perceived vulnerability/severity, particularly comorbidity ( = 0.13, 95% confidence interval (CI) [0.11, 0.15], < 0.001), and response efficacy, particularly participation in communication via social media ( = 0.24, 95% CI [0.21, 0.27], < 0.001), were significantly and positively associated with higher telehealth uptake during the COVID-19 pandemic among middle-aged and older Americans. Non-Hispanic Black adults were more likely to engage in telehealth during the pandemic than their non-Hispanic White counterparts ( = 0.20, 95% CI [0.12, 0.28], < 0.001). Multiple moderation analyses revealed the significant association between comorbidity and telehealth uptake was similar across racial/ethnic groups, whereas the significant association between social media communication and telehealth uptake varied by race/ethnicity. Specifically, the association was significantly less pronounced for Hispanic adults ( = -0.11, 95% CI [-0.19, -0.04], < 0.01) and non-Hispanic Asian/other races adults ( = -0.13, 95% CI [-0.26, -0.01], < 0.05) than it was for their non-Hispanic White counterparts.
CONCLUSION: Results suggest the potential of using social media and telehealth to narrow health disparities, particularly serving as a bridge for members of underserved communities to telehealth uptake.