Computerized versus standard personality measures: Equivalency, computer anxiety, and gender differences

Date

1991-05

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title

Publisher

Texas Tech University

Abstract

Since the development of the microcomputer in the mid- 1970's, the use of computerized personality testing (CPT) has rapidly increased. While there are clear advantages to administering personality tests on computers, some individuals have negative reactions to computer use that may carry over into measures of affect, such as depression or purpose in life.

The inherent differences between computerized and standard administrations may lie in the individual's reaction to working with a computer. Researchers have found that computer interaction does not bring out positive emotions for some individuals. A true fear or anxiety toward computers exists for many of these persons. These are the persons whose CPT scores may be affected.

Additionally, there has been a lack of research investigating the effects of gender and computer anxiety on CPT scores. Previous research has generally focused on establishing validity criteria for computerized testing. The present study examined the association between computer anxiety and personality test scores across computerized versus standard administrations. Gender differences across administration formats were also assessed. Measures of math, state, and trait anxiety were obtained on all subjects to differentiate these measures from computer anxiety.

The results of this study indicated that depression and purpose in life test scores varied as a function of computer anxiety with computerized administration. Subjects with high computer anxiety scores had significantly higher depression scores and lower purpose in life scores with computerized administration, but these affect measures showed no relation to computer anxiety with standard paper-and- pencil administration. These results held up when the variance associated with the measures of math, state, and trait anxiety was removed. The results suggest that computerized and standard administrations may yield nonequivalent personality test scores depending upon the examinee's computer anxiety level.

Description

Keywords

Personality tests -- Data processing, Personality tests -- Psychology

Citation