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Understanding Internet Usage

Robert Larose, Dana Mastro, Matthew S. Eastin

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Several studies have applied uses and gratifications to explain Internet usage. Like Bandura’s social-cognitive theory, the uses and gratifications framework explains media use in terms of expected positive outcomes, or gratifications. However, previous uses and gratifications research accounted for little variance in Internet behavior, although there were conflicting results. This research identifies new variables from social-cognitive theory that might further explain Internet usage and resolve inconsistencies in prior research. Measures of self-efficacy and self-disparagement were developed for the domain of Internet behavior. Internet addiction was interpreted as a deficient self-regulation within the social-cognitive framework. Finally, the negative outcomes of online behavior were analyzed for their impact on Internet usage. In a survey of 171 college students, the social-cognitive model explained 60% of the available variance in Internet usage using multiple regression analysis, a significant improvement over prior uses and gratifications research.