A global study from the BCS (Chartered Institute for IT) shows that access to information technology has a ‘statistically significant, positive impact on life satisfaction’. The research shows that having a sense of freedom and being in control of one’s life has a crucial and particularly important effect on wellbeing.
The study started with an analysis of data from across the globe using the World Values Survey, a recognised source of behavioural, social values, cultural and well-being measures. The analysis involved looking at individual responses to the survey; around 35,000 respondents worldwide were included. The study was particularly interested in the relationship between IT usage and other factors including well-being.
Main findings from the report:
The analysis shows that IT has a positive impact on life satisfaction even when controlling for income and other factors known to be important in determining well-being. It suggests that IT has an enabling and empowering role leading to a greater sense of freedom and control which in turn leads to greater life satisfaction.
IT appears to empower the disempowered. In fact, much of the improvement in life satisfaction that arises from information technology flows to those who are less well-placed in society. Those on lower incomes or with fewer educational qualifications appear to benefit more from access to IT than those on higher incomes or with higher educational backgrounds.
The findings suggests that women can gain much from access to and usage of technology. One possible reason is the role played by IT in modern day communications. This result is particularly true for women in developing nations. Why this is so is not clear. But one reason might be that in many parts of Africa, Asia, and the Middle East women have socially controlled roles which may lead to a lower sense of freedom and autonomy and hence well-being.
Click here for the full report
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