Development of a general internet attitude scale and internet self-efficacy scale

No Thumbnail Available
Joyce, Mary
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
University College Cork
Published Version
Research Projects
Organizational Units
Journal Issue
The measurement of users’ attitudes towards and confidence with using the Internet is an important yet poorly researched topic. Previous research has encountered issues that serve to obfuscate rather than clarify. Such issues include a lack of distinction between the terms ‘attitude’ and ‘self-efficacy’, the absence of a theoretical framework to measure each concept, and failure to follow well-established techniques for the measurement of both attitude and self-efficacy. Thus, the primary aim of this research was to develop two statistically reliable scales which independently measure attitudes towards the Internet and Internet self-efficacy. This research addressed the outlined issues by applying appropriate theoretical frameworks to each of the constructs under investigation. First, the well-known three component (affect, behaviour, cognition) model of attitudes was applied to previous Internet attitude statements. The scale was distributed to four large samples of participants. Exploratory factor analyses revealed four underlying factors in the scale: Internet Affect, Internet Exhilaration, Social Benefit of the Internet and Internet Detriment. The final scale contains 21 items, demonstrates excellent reliability and achieved excellent model fit in the confirmatory factor analysis. Second, Bandura’s (1997) model of self-efficacy was followed to develop a reliable measure of Internet self-efficacy. Data collected as part of this research suggests that there are ten main activities which individuals can carry out on the Internet. Preliminary analyses suggested that self-efficacy is confounded with previous experience; thus, individuals were invited to indicate how frequently they performed the listed Internet tasks in addition to rating their feelings of self-efficacy for each task. The scale was distributed to a sample of 841 participants. Results from the analyses suggest that the more frequently an individual performs an activity on the Internet, the higher their self-efficacy score for that activity. This suggests that frequency of use ought to be taken into account in individual’s self-efficacy scores to obtain a ‘true’ self-efficacy score for the individual. Thus, a formula was devised to incorporate participants’ previous experience of Internet tasks in their Internet self-efficacy scores. This formula was then used to obtain an overall Internet self-efficacy score for participants. Following the development of both scales, gender and age differences were explored in Internet attitudes and Internet self-efficacy scores. The analyses indicated that there were no gender differences between groups for Internet attitude or Internet self-efficacy scores. However, age group differences were identified for both attitudes and self-efficacy. Individuals aged 25-34 years achieved the highest scores on both the Internet attitude and Internet self-efficacy measures. Internet attitude and self-efficacy scores tended to decrease with age with older participants achieving lower scores on both measures than younger participants. It was also found that the more exposure individuals had to the Internet, the higher their Internet attitude and Internet self-efficacy scores. Examination of the relationship between attitude and self-efficacy found a significantly positive relationship between the two measures suggesting that the two constructs are related. Implication of such findings and directions for future research are outlined in detail in the Discussion section of this thesis.
Scale development , Internet attitude , Individual differences , Internet self-efficacy
Joyce, M. 2013. Development of a general internet attitude scale and internet self-efficacy scale. PhD Thesis, University College Cork.