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The Disability Digital Divide and its Links with Wellbeing in Europe​

Date: April 2024

Language: English

Author: Ana Suárez Álvarez, María R. Vicente Cuervo, Ana Jesús López Menéndez

Publisher: Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation under the project “Internet use and wellbeing in Europe (E-WELLBEING)

Format: PDF

Size: 938kB

Pages: 18


In the early 1990s, the rapid spread of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs)
generated significant academic interest in understanding the economic effects of these
technologies. As ICTs, especially the internet, became essential to daily life, attention in both
academic and public areas expanded to consider not only their potential economic impacts but
also their social consequences, such as their effects on wellbeing.

The diffusion of ICTs has been accompanied by notable efforts to reduce digital divides, these
are, the disparities that exist among individuals or groups of population in terms of digital access, usage, or skills. In this sense, special attention has been paid to people with disabilities.

Furthermore, literature on wellbeing identifies the condition of disability as a factor that general and negatively affects individuals’ level of wellbeing. Empirical evidence shows that individuals with disabilities tend to report lower levels of subjective wellbeing (SWB henceforth) than the rest of the population.

The present report summarizes the main findings of the project “Internet use and wellbeing in
Europe (E-WELLBEING)” (Ref: TED2021-129341B-I00) as regards the extent to which the digital
and wellbeing gaps of people with disabilities might be related.

In this sense, this report provides cross-country evidence for the European area using data from the European Social Survey (ESS). It aims to contribute to the advancement of knowledge
regarding to the European and Spanish development strategies that seek to make the digital
transition fully inclusive, leaving no one behind and guaranteeing the wellbeing of individuals in a digital society.

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