Attitudes and the Digital Divide: Attitude Measurement as Instrument to Predict Internet Usage

Elisabeth Donat, Roman Brandtweiner, Johann Kerschbaum

Publikation: Wissenschaftliche FachzeitschriftOriginalbeitrag in FachzeitschriftBegutachtung


Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) are the most important way of getting informed
in our society. Unfortunately not all people have access to the internet and ICTs (first order
digital divide), and an amazingly large number of people do not have the abilities to use the
ICTs in a proper way and, therefore, cannot draw advantages from its usage (second order digital
divide). Clearly, whether people can be informed or not depends on access to the new media and
the ability to use them. This paper shows that the variable attitude plays an important role in this
context. Attitudes can serve as an important dimension when explaining the adoption and diffusion
of new technologies. This paper presents data from a 2007 telephone survey in Austria and
describes the attitude structure of users and non-users by means of a representative random sample
(N=529). The tripartite definition of attitudes serves as a useful heuristic in structuring the
analysis. In providing new operationalizations, we found significant differences between users
and non-users concerning their attitudes towards the internet and new technologies. Age and education
prove to be major determinants of attitude patterns. The influence of the affective component
has to be especially emphasized, not only when overcoming the initial obstacle of getting
online, but also when it comes to willingness to learn and become a sophisticated user (second
order digital divide). Therefore our analysis gives starting points for intervention programs to encourage
more people to use the net.
Seiten (von - bis)37 - 56
FachzeitschriftInforming Science: the International Journal of an Emerging Transdiscipline
PublikationsstatusVeröffentlicht - 1 Okt. 2009