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A Social Cognitive Explanation of Internet Uses and Gratifications: Toward a New Theory of Media Attendance
Unformatted Document Text:  A Social Cognitive Explanation of Internet Uses and Gratifications: Toward a New Theory of Media Attendance While most of the prior research explaining Internet usage has followed the conventional uses and gratifications paradigm, some extensions and challenges to that prevailing theory of media attendance have emerged. These include the discovery of “new” gratifications overlooked in the annals of mass communication research and the introduction of powerful new explanatory variables. However, much of the extant research has focused on college students populations, while the Internet has penetrated deeply into the general population. The present study extends previous research to more diverse populations and evaluates new explanatory variables within the framework of Bandura’s (1986) Social Cognitive Theory. Respondents from two Midwestern states were contacted by mail to complete an on-line questionnaire. Among conventional Uses and Gratifications variables, expectations about participating in enjoyable activities online and expected social outcomes explained 23 percent of the variance in Internet usage. Habit strength, deficient self-regulation and Internet self efficacy combined in a stepwise multiple regression model that explained 40 percent of the variance in usage, in a model in which conventional Uses and Gratifications variables were not significant predictors. A new model of media attendance was proposed in which active consideration of uses and gratifications give way to habitual behavior and deficient self-regulation.

Authors: Eastin, Matthew. and Larose, Robert.
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A Social Cognitive Explanation of Internet Uses and Gratifications: Toward a New
Theory of Media Attendance
While most of the prior research explaining Internet usage has followed the conventional
uses and gratifications paradigm, some extensions and challenges to that prevailing
theory of media attendance have emerged. These include the discovery of “new”
gratifications overlooked in the annals of mass communication research and the
introduction of powerful new explanatory variables. However, much of the extant
research has focused on college students populations, while the Internet has penetrated
deeply into the general population. The present study extends previous research to more
diverse populations and evaluates new explanatory variables within the framework of
Bandura’s (1986) Social Cognitive Theory. Respondents from two Midwestern states
were contacted by mail to complete an on-line questionnaire. Among conventional Uses
and Gratifications variables, expectations about participating in enjoyable activities
online and expected social outcomes explained 23 percent of the variance in Internet
usage. Habit strength, deficient self-regulation and Internet self efficacy combined in a
stepwise multiple regression model that explained 40 percent of the variance in usage, in
a model in which conventional Uses and Gratifications variables were not significant
predictors. A new model of media attendance was proposed in which active consideration
of uses and gratifications give way to habitual behavior and deficient self-regulation.


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