CEC Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award

2017

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Information Systems (DISS)

Department

College of Engineering and Computing

Advisor

Maxine S. Cohen

Committee Member

Ling Wang

Committee Member

Martha M. Snyder

Abstract

Use of social networking websites has rapidly increased over the last decade. Online social environments are quickly changing to meet the demands of younger users however the needs of senior adults are often ignored on most websites today and underrepresented in many Unified Theory of Acceptance and Use of Technology (UTAUT) studies. The study sought to close the gap in research by providing greater knowledge about the behavioral intention and use behavior of social networking websites among senior adults. Senior adults from several locations and organizations were asked to complete an online self-administered survey answering questions that tie directly into the research hypotheses for the study and the UTAUT model to identify specific factors that influence behavioral intention and use behavior of social networking websites. Implications of the study include a better understanding and discovery of the unique needs and requirements for seniors in relation to social networking websites. Results of the study provided some important findings as the original hypotheses initially thought that the gender had a moderating effect on each performance expectancy, effort expectancy, or social influence as they each relate to a senior adult's behavioral intention to use social networking sites. However, conclusions were drawn from the data indicating that in all three instances, a significant correlation consistently did not exist among gender and performance expectancy, effort expectancy, or social influence respectively. In each instance, evidence for the moderating effect of gender was unable to be supported in stark contrast to what was previously thought at the onset of the study. It was further concluded that a senior adult's perceived performance expectancy, effort expectancy, and social influence were all found to be predictors of the senior's behavioral intention toward using a social networking website. Finally, a senior adult's perception of facilitating conditions and their actual behavioral intention to use a social networking website were found to be predictors of the senior's use behavior for a social networking website.

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