Psychosocial influences of computer anxiety, computer confidence, and computer self-efficacy with online health information in older adults




Chu, Adeline Yee-Mei

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There is an increased use of the Internet as a source for health information among older Americans. Numerous surveys demonstrated that older adults who took to computers and the Internet were generally more educated and well-to-do seniors residing in urban and upscale communities. On the contrary, very few programs were created to bridge the digital divide among older Americans living in underserved communities, and the impact health communication technologies had on these seniors. The purpose of the interdisciplinary health communication project was to determine the psychosocial influences of computer anxiety, computer confidence and computer self-efficacy among urban, lower socioeconomic older adults residing in the city of Houston, Texas. A randomized, control, 2 groups, pre-post repeated measure design was employed. 137 participants, ages 65 and older were recruited at 6 meal congregate sites for the study. The participants were randomized to either the intervention or control group. Participants in the intervention group completed a 5-week education intervention, based on Bandura's Self-Efficacy Model, designed to assist older adults in basic computer literacy, health information retrieval and web evaluation. The 2-hour, once a week session was conducted at a facility of the YWCA Greater Houston. The program was not administered to the control group until the termination of the study. Three measurement scales were used to measure computer anxiety, computer confidence and computer self-efficacy, namely, the Computer Confidence Subscale; the Computer Anxiety Subscale of the Computer Attitude Scale (CAS), and the Computer Self-Efficacy Measure (SEM). The scales were administered to both groups at three time intervals: baseline, at the completion of the 5 week intervention, and 6 weeks after completion of the intervention. Repeated ANOVA findings showed significant reductions in computer anxiety (p <.001), an increase in computer confidence (p <.001), and an increase in computer self-efficacy (p <.001) in older adults after the completion of 5-week intervention compared to older adults not in the program. The study concluded that a well designed program was necessary for the improvement of personal and community health growth to narrow the digital gap among older Americans residing in lower socioeconomic communities.



Health and environmental sciences, Social sciences, Psychology, Computer anxiety, Computer confidence, Computer self-efficacy, Consumer health information, Older adults, Online health information