Seniors : Achievements, activities : Online Pen Pal Study Looks at Self-Esteem

The Morningside retirement community has been chosen for a six-month study being conducted jointly by USC's gerontology and communications departments.

The study will measure the effects online communication has on Morningside residents' sense of self-worth, involvement in the community, feelings of loneliness and isolation, and other issues related to mental health, researchers said.

Twelve Morningside residents have online addresses and are sending weekly e-mail messages to student pen pals ranging in age from 9 to 15.

Professors conducting the study said the program aims to develop relationships between the youngsters and the seniors, then study the results of those ties.

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