Exploring the disparity in tangible outcomes of internet use between persons with disabilities and persons without disabilities in South Korea


Background: Societal inequalities caused by the digital divide between people with disabilities and people without disabilities are a social justice issue. Internet use to acquire beneficial outcomes has increasingly been the focus of the digital divide. Objective: This study investigates the extent to which outcomes of Internet use differ between individuals with (PWD) and without disabilities (PWOD) and determinants of outcomes of Internet use. Methods: We conducted a series of multiple linear regression analyses using cross-sectional data of 1762 PWD and 5491 PWOD from the Digital Divide Survey conducted in Korea in 2018. Results: We determined gaps in Internet access, skill, motivation, and outcomes between PWD and PWOD. PWOD reported significantly higher Internet access, skill, and motivation, and they also acquired more beneficial outcomes on all outcome domains than PWD. Further, PWOD with higher education degrees, higher household incomes, higher motivation towards Internet use, and greater digital skills acquired more beneficial outcomes of Internet use. Moreover, disability status, motivation to use the Internet, and digital skills were the most salient determinants of outcomes of Internet use, both collectively and specifically out of the five domains. Conclusion: The government should move forward to closing the gap in outcomes of Internet use between PWD and PWOD by providing programs and interventions to promote Internet use and enhance digital skills as well as by increasing web accessibility and incentives system.

Publication Title

Disability and Health Journal