SAGE Journal Articles

Click on the following links. Please note these will open in a new window.

SAGE Journal User Guide

Ling and Stald, Mobile Communities: Are We Talking About a Village, a Clan, or a Small Group? American Behavioral Scientist April 2010 vol. 53 no. 8 1133-1147, SAGE Publications.


A central issue in the adoption and use of information and communication technology is the degree to which it either contributes to or detracts from the development of social cohesion in the small group. When considering this question, one need recognize that the social dynamics of the mobile telephone are different from those of the Internet. The device affords point-to-point interaction that makes us individually addressable regardless of where we or our interlocutors may be. This analysis draws on survey material from Scandinavia. It is based on a random sample of approximately 1,800 persons in Norway surveyed in December 2007 and January 2008. The data were collected with a Web-based survey of a known population, as supplemented with telephone interviews to cover those who traditionally do not use the Web (generally, persons older than 50 years of age). Data from two surveys of 15- to 24-year-old Danes were included: one from 2004 (343 respondents) and one from 2006 (629 respondents). Research reported here, and by others, has found that the mobile telephone contributes to the development and maintenance of social cohesion within the closest sphere of friends and family. If community is construed to be more restricted and a result of this type of cohesion, then it is different in character than that used when discussing net-based networking.

Greaves and Farbus, Effects of creative and social activity on the health and well-being of socially isolated older people: outcomes from a multi-method observational study. Copyright SAGE Publications © 2006 The Journal of The Royal Society for the Promotion of Health May 2006 Vol 126 No 3 ISSN 1466-4240.


Depression and social isolation affect one in seven people over 65 and there is increasing recognition that social isolation adversely affects long-term health. Research indicates that interventions, which promote active social contact, which encourage creativity, and which use mentoring, are more likely to positively affect health and well-being. The purpose of this study was to evaluate a complex intervention for addressing social isolation in older people, embodying these principles: The Upstream Healthy Living Centre. Mentors delivered a series of individually-tailored activities, with support tailing off over time. Two hundred and twenty-nine participants were offered the Geriatric Depression Scale, SF12 Health Quality of Life, and Medical Outcomes Social Support scale at baseline, then 6 months and 12 months post intervention. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 26 participants, five carers and four referring health professionals to provide a deeper understanding of outcomes. Data were available for 172 (75%) participants at baseline, 72 (53% of those eligible) at 6 months and 51 (55%) at 12 months. Baseline scores indicated social isolation and high morbidity for mental and physical health. The intervention was successful in engaging this population (80% of referrals were engaged in some form of activity). At 6 months, there were significant improvements in SF12 mental component, and depression scores, but not in perceived physical health or social support. At 12 months, there were significant improvements in depression and social support and a marginally significant improvement in SF12 physical component (p= 0.06), but the SF12 mental component change was not maintained. The qualitative data showed that the intervention was well-received by participants. The data indicated a wide range of responses (both physical and emotional), including increased alertness, social activity, self-worth, optimism about life, and positive changes in health behaviour. Stronger, ‘transformational’ changes were reported by some participants. Individual tailoring seemed to be a key mediator of outcomes, as was overcoming barriers relating to transport and venues. Key processes underlying outcomes were the development of a positive group identity, and building of confidence/self-efficacy. The Upstream model provides a practical way of engaging socially isolated elderly people and generating social networks. The data suggest a range of psychosocial and physical health benefits. Although there are limitations in attributing causality in uncontrolled studies, the data seem to indicate a reversal of the expected downward trends in some aspects of participants’ health, and suggest that this approach is worth further investigation.

Roinson and Martin, IT Use and Declining Social Capital? More Cold Water From the General Social Survey (GSS) and the American Time-Use Survey (ATUS)Social Science Computer Review Volume 28 Number 1, February 2010 45-63, 2010 SAGE Publications.

Early studies of the impact of information technology (IT) on society suggested that it had a negative impact on social life as well as on mass media use. This article reviews the results from several subsequent studies both in the United States and other countries that show little such societal change in terms of users’ daily behavior. It then proceeds to document further negative evidence from two more recent large national surveys with high response rates: the 2006 General Social Survey (GSS), with more than 2,500 respondents, and the 2003–2005 American Time-Use Survey (ATUS), with more than 40,000 respondents, aged 18 and older. The GSS survey collected time-estimate data on particular social and media (mainly free-time) activities, while the ATUS study collected diary data on all daily activities across a single day. In general, Internet use was not consistently correlated with significantly lower levels of socializing or other social activities (such as church attendance) nor with lower time with mass communications media in the GSS. For reading and some other behaviors, the Internet was associated with increased media use. Respondents who reported more time on the Internet did report fewer social visits with relatives, but more visits with friends, compared to those who spent no time on the Internet. The main difference between users and nonusers in the ATUS was with time at paid work, which was only partially explained by higher Internet use by teens and on days off from work. For reading and some other behaviors, the Internet was associated with increased use.