The Digital Divide, Social Inclusion, and Health Among Persons With Mental Illness in Poland

Yu-Leung Ng, Kara Chan, Łukasz Balwicki, Peter Huxley, Marcus Yu-Lung Chiu


Previous digital divide research has studied the Internet for empowerment of marginalized people such as ethnic and sexual minorities. This study focused on the digital divide among another minority group: persons with mental illness in the community. A nonprobability cross-sectional sampling survey was conducted in Poland. Cluster analysis was conducted to segment persons with mental illness into homogeneous clusters based on their Internet usage activities and motivations. Three clusters were identified: leisure-seeking omnivores (44.4%), gamers (18.8%), and passive selective users (36.9%). Leisure-seeking omnivores scored higher on satisfaction with and perception of opportunities to receive social resources (e.g., family activities, employment, community participation, and health services) than passive selective users. Gamers had better physical and mental health than leisure-seeking omnivores and passive selective users. Younger age and better physical health were the predictors for being leisure-seeking omnivores and gamers, respectively. Future predictions of the changes of clusters and future research directions are discussed.


digital divide, online activities, physical and mental health, Poland, social inclusion

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