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Social engagement is an important protective factor for age-related cognitive decline and dementia. However, it is unclear whether social engagement through social technologies (i.e., texting, social media, video chat, email) demonstrate the same protective effects as face-to-face social interactions. The proposed study will assess whether previously-established social technology measures demonstrate measurement equivalence across younger and older adult populations and are psychometrically sound for use in older adults. 

This research project will examine age-related differences in data quality, participation, respondent experience, and costs in two types of interviews: video-mediated (live two-way communication via platforms like Skype) and video self-administered (video-recorded interviewers asking questions and respondents answering by typing or clicking). These two survey modes are promising because they use off-the-shelf video technology and are less costly than face to face interviews, but they are not yet widely deployed. The project will provide new insights regarding how video-based interviewing affects respondent behavior and experience in surveys, in particular, for older populations.

Housing characteristics and disability in later life are closely tied, but whether housing can positively influence functioning through social resources is unclear. Using data from the National Health and Aging Trends Study (NHATS), this pilot study will determine if and which social resources are a pathway through which housing is related to functional health in later life.