Getting started with computers: Experience, anxiety, and relational style

Lori J. Nelson, Gina M. Wiese, Joel Cooper

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

22 Scopus citations

Abstract

This study examined sex differences, changes over time, and predictors of attrition from introductory computer classes. Males entered the classes with greater previous experience than females in programming, computer games, and miscellaneous uses. Previous programming experience was positively related to staying in computer courses. However, males with more computer game experience and females with less computer game experience were more likely to drop out. Males who were less computer anxious and females who were more computer anxious were more likely to drop out. Liking for computers and perceived experience increased over the semester for all students, but females became more anxious. Overall, sex differences in attribution for success and failure with computers were lacking. Assessments of relational style of interaction with computers showed that females who initially perceived the computer more as a tool/machine and males who initially perceived the computer less as a tool/machine were more likely to drop out. All subjects attributed more animate/human qualities to the computer with time. Suggestions for promoting general computer literacy are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)185-202
Number of pages18
JournalComputers in Human Behavior
Volume7
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 1991

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Psychology(all)

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