Sex Roles

, Volume 44, Issue 5, pp 363-379

First online:

Gender and the Internet: Women Communicating and Men Searching

  • Linda A. JacksonAffiliated withMichigan State University Email author 
  • , Kelly S. ErvinAffiliated withWashington State University
  • , Philip D. GardnerAffiliated withWashington State University
  • , Neal SchmittAffiliated withWashington State University

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This research examined gender differences in Internet use and factors responsible for these differences. A sample of 630 Anglo American undergraduates completed the Student Computer and Internet Survey that contained questions about e-mail and Web use, and about potential affective and cognitive mediators of use. Based on a general model of Internet use, we predicted and found that females used e-mail more than did males, males used the Web more than did females, and females reported more computer anxiety, less computer self-efficacy, and less favorable and less stereotypic computer attitudes. Path analysis to identify mediators of gender differences in Internet use revealed that computer self-efficacy, loneliness, and depression accounted in part for gender differences, but that gender continued to have a direct effect on use after these factors were considered. Implications for realizing the democratizing potential and benefits of Internet use are discussed.