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Structured and unstructured exposure to computers: Sex differences in attitude and use among college students

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A classroom-integrated structured introduction to computer use was compared to an unstructured, voluntary exposure in a group of 362 first-year college students. It was hypothesized that sex differences in attitude and use would be mitigated for students whose training in computer use was integrated into their classroom work. The data supported the hypothesis, indicating that higher male ratings with regard to computer use, attitude toward computers and perceived efficacy at the onset of the experiment were attenuated in the structured condition and amplified in the unstructured condition. Further analysis of the responses of females and males in the unstructured condition suggested different determinants of subsequent use, attitude, and efficacy. For females, prior computer use most strongly influenced the three subsequent dependent measures, while for males prior attitude was the most influential determinant.

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The authors wish to thank Susan E. Kirschner for proposing and implementing the course structure that enabled us to carry out this investigation.

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Arch, E.C., Cummins, D.E. Structured and unstructured exposure to computers: Sex differences in attitude and use among college students. Sex Roles 20, 245–254 (1989). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00287722

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  • College Student
  • Social Psychology
  • Male Rating
  • Structure Condition
  • Dependent Measure