Attitudes Toward Computers Across Adulthood From 1994 to 2013
Background and Objectives: Regardless of the increased deployment of technologies in everyday living domains, barriers remain that hamper technology adoption by older adults. Understanding barriers to adoption such as individual differences in attitudes toward computers is important to the design of strategies to reduce age-related digital disparities. Research Design and Methods: This article reports a time-sequential analysis of data from the Edward R. Roybal Center on Human Factors and Aging Research and the Center for Research and Education on Aging and Technology Enhancement (CREATE) on computer attitudes among a large (N = 3,917), diverse sample of community-dwelling adults aged from 18 to 98 years. The data were gathered from 1994 to 2013. Results: The findings indicated that there are still age disparities in attitudes; older adults report less comfort with and less efficacy about using computers than younger people. We also found a cohort (birth year) effect; attitudes are generally more positive among more recent birth cohorts. Those who have more education and experience with computers also have more positive attitudes. Males generally have more positive attitudes than females; however, the gender difference decreases with increased age. Discussion and Implications: Technology affords potential benefits for older people, but lack of uptake in technology clearly puts older adults at a disadvantage in terms of negotiating today's digital world. This article provides insight into attitudinal barriers that may affect on technology uptake among older adults. The findings have implications for the design of technology training programs, design of technology systems, and policy.