Effects of Age, Learner Profile, and Keyboarding Skill On Self-Reported Computer Anxiety Among Traditional Versus Nontraditional College Students

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educational Studies and Research

First Advisor

John R. Rachal

Advisor Department

Educational Studies and Research


The purpose of the present study was primarily twofold: (1) to test the effects of a selected set of variables upon computer anxiety in an effort to determine if any patterns existed, and (2) to examine the relationship between traditional and nontraditional college students and computer anxiety. Independent variables were age, learner profile, gender, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, student classification, course posture, prior computer experience, and keyboarding skill. The criterion variable, computer anxiety, was measured using Oetting's Computer Anxiety Scale (COMPAS). The independent variable of learner profile was measured using Oddi's Continuing Learning Inventory (OCLI). Subjects consisted of 431 students enrolled in business communication courses at three state-supported universities located in three southern states. The sample, consisting of 228 traditional and 199 nontraditional students, was assessed at the beginning of the spring semester 1995. Canonical correlation analysis revealed that gender, keyboarding skill, age, socioeconomic status, and self-directedness were predictors of computer anxiety. Using commonality analysis to examine the unique contributions of each of the variable partitions, the demographic variables and self-directedness were found to have the most unique predictive power for computer anxiety. Suppressor effects were noted, however, for combinations of academic variables (class status, student classification, course posture, and keyboarding skill) with demographic or self-directedness variables. Differences between traditional and nontraditional students on computer anxiety were noteworthy with traditional students indicating higher anxiety on only two of the seven subscales of the COMPAS. Further, nontraditional students were found to be more self-assured, to need less affirmation, and to read more than traditional students. Recommendations for practice and policy as well as research are presented.