Age differences in attitudes toward computers

Sara J. Czaja, Joseph Sharit

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

261 Scopus citations


It is commonly believed that older adults hold more negative altitudes toward computer technology than younger people. This study examined age differences in attitudes toward computers as a function of experience with computers and computer task characteristics. A sample of 384 community- dwelling adults ranging in age from 20 to 75 years performed one of three real-world computer tasks (data entry, database inquiry, accounts balancing) for a 3-day period. A multidimensional computer attitude scale was used to assess attitudes toward computers pretask and posttask. Although there were no age differences in overall attitudes, there were age effects for the dimensions of comfort, efficacy, dehumanization, and control. In general, older people perceived less comfort, efficacy, and control over computers than did the other participants. The results also indicated that experience with computers resulted in more positive attitudes for all participants across most attitude dimensions. These effects were moderated by task and gender. Overall, the findings indicated that computer attitudes are modifiable for people of all age groups. However, the nature of computer experience has an impact on attitude change.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)P329-P340
JournalJournals of Gerontology - Series B Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1998
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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