Exploring barriers to and outcomes of internet appropriation among households living in poverty: A systematic literature review

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While poverty can be regarded as an issue with many different causes and dimensions, research indicates that enhancing digital inclusion may positively contribute to alleviating poverty. Therefore, it is of great importance to better understand the factors that may hinder internet appropriation for households facing poverty. However, no clear overview exists of the barriers to and outcomes of internet appropriation for this exact target audience. Therefore, a systematic literature review using framework synthesis was conducted to explore and map these obstacles in different stages of internet appropriation: attitude and motivation, material access, skills, and usage. Respective outcomes were also identified. Following the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) protocol, a total of n = 1,596 unique records were identified after a systematic search in the Scopus, Web of Science, and PsycINFO databases. Of these articles, n = 40 met the selection criteria and were included in the final review. The results underline the interwovenness of barriers in different stages of internet appropriation. The findings also highlight the importance of being sensitive toward one’s living environment in understanding barriers that prevail. In addition to barriers, a multitude of positive outcomes have been identified that highlight the potential benefits the internet can provide to people in situations of financial deprivation. Implications are discussed and future research directions are proposed to assist in enhancing digital inclusion for households facing poverty.
Original languageEnglish
JournalSAGE Open
Issue number1
Early online date23 Feb 2024
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2024


  • Poverty
  • Digital divide
  • Digital inclusion
  • Internet appropriation
  • Systematic literature review


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