Journal of Management Information Systems

Volume 22 Number 4 2006 pp. 177-206

Digital Inclusiveness--Longitudinal Study of Internet Adoption by Older Adults

Lam, Jolie C Y and Lee, Matthew K O

ABSTRACT: In order to build a digital inclusive society, both government and nongovernment organizations in countries such as China, Japan, Korea, Singapore, Taiwan, the United Kingdom, and the United States have been offering training programs to the general public and establishing communitywide public access computer facilities in recent years. However, offering training programs and enabling access to facilities are not sufficient on their own if, due to other reasons, the socially disadvantaged groups do not choose to make use of the facilities. As an exploratory investigation, this study focuses on the voluntary adoption of these facilities (typified by the Internet) by one such disadvantaged group—older adults. In particular, this study investigates the role of Internet self-efficacy and outcome expectations in older adults' usage of the Internet through a three-part longitudinal study, involving almost 1,000 participants. A theoretical model based on social cognitive theory was developed and empirically tested through both surveys and lab experiments. Behavioral modeling training courses were offered to adults age 55 or older in the study over a one-year period. Questionnaire surveys and cognitive knowledge assessments were conducted. In general, the findings in the longitudinal study (including three repeated measures) validated the affects of Internet self-efficacy and outcome expectations on usage intention, and the important roles of support and encouragement in the formation of self-efficacy and outcome expectations. Limitations and implications are discussed.

Key words and phrases: behavioral modeling, computer training, digital divide, digital inclusiveness, information system adoption, Internet self-efficacy, social cognitive theory