Title page for ETD etd-31598-144937

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Martin, Brenda L.
Author's Email Address blm@vt.edu
URN etd-31598-144937
Title Computer Anxiety Among Virginia Cooperative Extension Field Personnel
Degree PhD
Department Vocational and Technical Education
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Hillison, John H. Committee Chair
Barrett, J. David Committee Member
Fortune, Jimmie C. Committee Member
Walson, Chris Committee Member
Date of Defense 1998-04-01
Availability unrestricted
Extension professionals must have easy access to and knowledge of emerging

technologies to deliver programs more efficiently and effectively. With the increasing use

of computer technology comes an increasing number of individuals who have computer

anxiety. This study examined selected variables as predictors of computer anxiety. Data

were collected from 402 Virginia Cooperative Extension field personnel. The personnel

included Agricultural and Natural Resources agents, Family and Consumer Sciences

agents, 4-H agents, technicians, and secretaries. A modified version of Oetting's 1983

Computer Anxiety Scale (COMPAS) was used to determine the computer anxiety levels.

For this instrument, an internal consistency reliability of Cronbach's alpha r = .95

resulted from this study. The survey results were analyzed using the Statistical Package

for the Social Sciences (SPSS). The overall mean score for the respondents to this study

was 101.68, on a 200 point scale, which was interpreted using the COMPAS manual to indicate that only 20% of the Virginia Cooperative Extension personnel were "anxious" or

"very anxious." Regression analysis indicated that time per day using a computer, years

with Extension, and age were the significant variables related to anxiety. Increased

computer use reduced but did not entirely eliminate computer anxiety.

A profile of a respondent who was relaxed about computer use included being age

20 to 29, a secretary, and using a computer more than two hours per day. A person

anxious about computer use was middle aged (40 and over), a technician, and used the

computer less than two hours per day. The results indicated that the more a respondent

used the computer per day the less anxious they were. A large number of personnel used

the computer to compile and produce educational material and to communicate with


The Virginia Cooperative Extension administration should direct their attention

regarding computer training to respondents who are 40 years of age and older and are

technicians. To reduce computer anxiety, personnel should be provided with in-service

training emphasizing computer applications.

Additional research could identify why technicians have higher levels of computer

anxiety. Further study could identify other variables that may be related to computer


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