Developing an instrument to Assess Intergenerational Digital Communication by Older Adults: Expanding the Solidarity Model

Principal Investigator: Merril Silverstein

Active Dates: 2021 – 2024

Funding Source: Retirement Research Foundation


The purpose of this project is to develop a reliable and valid instrument that measures the use and efficacy of various forms of intergenerational digital communication and integrate those measures within the intergenerational solidarity inventory, the gold standard for measuring intergenerational family relationships. We incorporate these new forms of communication into the intergenerational solidarity paradigm and its measurement tool by conceptualizing and empirically developing a new dimension of solidarity labelled digital solidarity. Importantly, this research takes place during or soon after the COVID-19 pandemic, which has served as an accelerator of an upward trends in the use of digital communication between older adults and their family members. As the digital divide by age is expected to close (though not be eliminated) in coming years, the measurement model we develop will almost certainly apply to an increasingly larger segment of the older population.