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Abstract

This study integrates the literature on computer anxiety and communication apprehension to determine their joint impact upon individual attitudes toward using and use of computer mediated communication (CMC). We introduce the application-specific CMC anxiety, defined as an individual' s level of fear or apprehension associated with actual or anticipated use of information technology to communicate with others. Furthermore, we advance a new nomological structure that positions CMC anxiety as a proximal mediating construct between the more general constructs of computer anxiety, communication apprehension, and CMC familiarity, and the dependent constructs of CMC attitudes and use. We develop and empirically test this nomological structure, finding that computer anxiety, oral communication apprehension, and CMC familiarity contribute to CMC anxiety, while written communication apprehension does not. CMC anxiety fully mediates the relationship between the general constructs and attitude toward using CMC. CMC anxiety explains 34% of the variance in attitudes, while attitudes, coupled with familiarity, explain 14% of the variance in CMC use.

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