The Computer-Related Self Concept: A Gender-Sensitive Study

The Computer-Related Self Concept: A Gender-Sensitive Study

Monique Janneck (Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Luebeck University of Applied Sciences, Luebeck, Germany), Sylvie Vincent-Höper (Department of Psychology, University of Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany) and Jasmin Ehrhardt (Department of Psychology, University of Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany)
DOI: 10.4018/ijsodit.2013070101


This paper presents the computer-related self-concept as a new theoretical approach to analyzing and understanding computer-related attitudes, emotions, and behaviors. The approach integrates different lines of research on computer-related self-cognitions. The authors developed and validated a questionnaire to measure the computer-related self-concept and conducted a large online survey with more than 1100 male and female computing professionals. Results show that men have a significantly more positive computer-related self-concept than women. Furthermore, the computer-related self-concept shows high correlations with career motivation. Thus, the concept might serve to further analyze computer-related gender differences and eventually to devise supportive measures in order to foster women’s careers in computing. Further prospects for using the computer-related self-concept in research on human-computer interaction are also explored.
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The self-concept represents all of a person’s self-referred attitudes. It has an essential psychological importance since it is a crucial determinant of human behavior. It is usually referred to as a multidimensional, hierarchical structure (Shavelson, Hubner, & Stanton, 1976). The general self-concept is made up of a multitude of specific self-referred cognitions relating to different experiences and areas of life. These include ability concepts, which describe a person’s notions about his/her ability in several areas of academic performance, e.g. mathematical or language skills. Ability concepts do not only influence academic performance, (see e.g. Guay, Marsh, & Boivin, 2003) but also a person’s own expectations for success in that field (see e.g. Eccles, Roeser, Wigfield, & Freedman-Doan, 2006). Thus, in the long run, they also determine career development and career success.

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