A study of the influence of e-mail attitude and self-efficacy on the well-being of university staff : a thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts in Psychology at Massey University
The present study attempts to explore a cross section of university staff members' attitude towards the use of electronic mail (e-mail), their levels of self-efficacy (general, computer, and e-mail), and their sense of well-being; along with any possible relationships that may exist between these key constructs and various demographics. The factor structure of the e-mail attitude scale was also examined to see if it reflected tricomponent attitude theory. These areas have not been previously explored within New Zealand, and international research pertaining to these constructs is both fragmented and limited. A questionnaire was distributed to 2253 full-time Massey University staff members at the Albany and Palmerston North campuses according to the Human Resource Sections employment database as at the 1st March 2000. There were 569 respondents, yielding a response rate of 25.3% which was marginally below the desired 30%. The results indicated that this sample of Massey University staff members have a moderately positive attitude towards e-mail that reflects tricomponent attitudinal weightings, that staff engage in moderate levels of e-mail usage and that the most common purpose of e-mail use within the university was for administrative purposes. Overall the university staff demonstrated high levels of well-being and general self-efficacy, but only moderate levels of computer and e-mail based efficacy. The results of this study support Sherer, Maddux, Merchandante, Prentice-Dunn, Jacobs, and Rogers (1982) conceptualisation of general efficacy and provides some evidence of concurrent validity for the well-being scales. Further to this, differences between other types of efficacy and well-being scores generated from previous research emerged as did demographic differences. Hierarchical regression analysis based on the work of Baron and Kenny (1986) revealed that general efficacy was the only measure of efficacy to mediate the relationship between facets of e-mail attitude and well-being. General efficacy partially mediated the relationship between the affective e-mail attitude component and positive affect, and the behavioural e-mail attitude component and negative affect, as well as completely mediating the relationship between the behavioural e-mail attitude component and general life satisfaction. In concluding the limitations and recommendations for future research are also discussed.