Amy Gonzales – Importance of Access to Digital Technology for Building and Maintaining Social Capital and Quality of Life

Friday, November 5th, 2021

9:30 am - 10:30 am, via Zoom


Join our seminar next Friday, November 5 at 9:30 AM PT to hear from Professor Amy Gonzales. She will be speaking on “Importance of Access to Digital Technology for Building and Maintaining Social Capital and Quality of Life.”

We are reliant on digital technology for nearly every aspect of daily life, including searching for jobs, completing coursework, and accessing healthcare. In this talk, Professor Gonzales will present data from two studies demonstrating the essential nature of digital access for the health, quality of life, and social capital of individuals from marginalized communities. First, I will present findings from a diary study in Philadelphia on the use of digital technology to broaden social networks for those constrained by geographic segregation. Second, she will present findings from a 6-month field experiment in Indiana demonstrating that stable access to cell-phones improves health and quality of life over time. These effects were moderated by social support, such that those individuals with the fewest supportive relationships benefited the most from stable cell phone access. In tandem, these findings point to the need for ensuring digital access in low-income communities and communities of color.

Amy Gonzales is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Her work examines the benefits of information and communication technologies for social support, and well-being, and the costs of inadequate access to these tools. She is especially interested in these phenomena for people from disadvantaged communities (e.g., racial/ethnic minorities, low-income populations, LGBTQ individuals, etc.).

You can watch the recording from our YouTube channel.