Behaviour Change

Articles

Internet Use in Adulthood: Loneliness, Computer Anxiety and Education

Maona Matandaa1, Vickii B. Jenveya2 and James G. Phillipsa3 c1

a1 Monash University, Australia.

a2 Monash University, Australia.

a3 Monash University, Australia.

Abstract

With the recent exponential increase in Internet use, there are concerns about obstacles to gaining access to this potentially beneficial technology. To understand the psychological factors that might be offering barriers to Internet use, the present study considered age, attitudes towards computers, gender, education and social isolation as potential predictors of Internet usage. A sample of 158 adults completed questionnaires about computer anxiety, loneliness and Internet use. Time spent in activities associated with entertainment, communication, information searches and commerce, and overall time spent on the Internet were analysed using multiple regression. It was difficult to predict overall Internet use, but possible to predict specific categories of use. Better-educated participants were more likely to use the Internet for communication. Men, the young, and the lonely used the Internet more for entertainment. Those with lower computer anxiety used the Internet for information searches, and men were more likely than women to use the Internet for commercial purposes. It is suggested that computer anxiety and education may constrain the use of specific applications but Internet use otherwise follows pre-existing tendencies or interests.

Correspondence:

c1 Address for correspondence: James G. Phillips, Psychology Department, PO Box 17, Monash University, Vic. 3800, Australia. E-mail: jim.phillips@med.monash.edu.au