It is commonly believed that older adults hold more negative attitudes toward computer technology than younger people. This study examined age differences in attitudes toward computers as a function of experience with computers and computer task characteristics. A sample of 384 community-dwelling adults ranging in age from 20 to 75 years performed one of three real-world computer tasks (data entry, database inquiry, accounts balancing) for a 3-day period. A multidimensional computer attitude scale was used to assess attitudes toward computers pretask and posttask. Although there were no age differences in overall attitudes, there were age effects for the dimensions of comfort, efficacy, dehumanization, and control. In general, older people perceived less comfort, efficacy, and control over computers than did the other participants. The results also indicated that experience with computers resulted in more positive attitudes for all participants across most attitude dimensions. These effects were moderated by task and gender. Overall, the findings indicated that computer attitudes are modifiable for people of all age groups. However, the nature of computer experience has an impact on attitude change.
The Journals of Gerontology Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences – Oxford University Press
Published: Sep 1, 1998
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