Dr. Natalie Hruska

Researcher • Educator • Designer


Since the early 80s, I have been on the computer, playing pong on the VIC-20 and Infocom interactive fiction games on the Commodore 64. I have used the same Yahoo! email address since '93!

My interests are in the use of the WWW and its ability to meet important social needs in areas like education, employment, and health.

My hope is that people around the world will recognize the potential of the use of the Internet to meet community needs and make the World Wide Web grow in the right direction.

Dr. Natalie Hruska

Research & Essays

Studies document numerous threats to human health exacerbated by multiple factors, including inadequate access to health-related information. The Internet has developed as one resource to provide health information; however, there remains a significant gap in understanding how personality differences influence the use and perceived utility of the Internet for providing health information.

Guided by the transactional model for stress and coping, the purpose of this concurrent mixed-methods study was to determine if personality factors related to perceived control affected a person’s tendency to seek out and value health information on the Internet. Research questions explored associations linking individual differences in perceived control with Internet use.

A convenience sample of 175 Internet users completed an online survey that included the Perceived Health Competence scale (PHC), the Multidimensional Health Locus of Control Scale (MHLC), and assessments of health information-seeking behaviors (HISB). Multiple linear regression was used to document significant links between MHLC and HISB scales assessing health-specific Internet use and satisfaction. Open-ended HISB data were coded and analyzed by use of a spiral method of visualizing of data, identifying themes, interpretation, and the final representation of data.

Several emergent themes were used to explain the type/purpose of information sought, the perceived usefulness and credibility of the site/source, and ways of improving communication. The study contributes to positive social change by describing how the Internet can be better employed as a tool to deliver reliable, comprehensive health information in a way that increases its effectiveness in ameliorating threats to human health.

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This is an investigation of the gap between the availability of the Internet and the actual, productive use of the Internet. Despite benefits that the proponents of the Internet promise, there remains the encroaching specter of a new digital divide. Without investigation of this gap, the disparities between the haves and have nots may worsen. There is evidence of opportunities on the Internet to improve one’s own life in areas like health, education, employment, and environmental activism. However, the availability of Internet technology is not enough to meet global, social needs. Factors contributing to the productive use of the Internet are the focus of this study. This is a mixed method study that includes field data, interviews, and a survey. The objective was to expose and analyze the nature of Internet use within the parameters of human need areas: health, education, employment, and environmental activism. Common themes behind individual and organizational Internet use are investigated. Then, outstanding factors associated with the productive Internet use experience are identified. The objective is to address a wider population of Internet users around the world who can use the Internet to improve their own lives and the lives of others. As a proposed long-term result, opportunities can be accessed on the Internet; global, social health can improve, and the playing field in the international arena can become balanced.

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This is a study of the Internet as a tool to aid in historical preservation. While the preservation of cultural sites and artifacts is important to every civilization, the state of many historical sites is threatened due to factors like over development and poor planning. These historical sites may be in developing parts of the world, lack resources, or attention. An objective is to demonstrate how Internet technology can be optimized for fast, comprehensive, inexpensive, and effective application in these diverse situations. Primary focus is on how the Internet, specifically web sites and open source tools, can be used to disseminate information to those in the field of conservation, the general public, and to support the preservation of historical sites in the form of membership, monetary or voluntary donations, and other assistance. The Internet’s current use in historical preservation is analyzed within and across case studies of actual websites in order to investigate the details of this use and how they compare. An imaginary situation is generated in order to demonstrate the possible future application of the Internet’s use in historical preservation. Three case studies are presented. Each case is a preservation website with a different historical focus- architectural, social, and environmental.

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As technology is used more in decision-making, practice of the decision-making process can help individuals and organizations achieve balance in a changing environment. Use of basic decision models combined with use of technology is discussed in this essay. Models are based on the decision theory procedure- a rational step-by-step process used to make logical decisions.

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Volunteer activity among different age groups is compared. A discussion on the relationship between altruism and individual well-being follows. Then, the contributions of volunteer activity to social capital are explored. On-site volunteer activity is compared and contrasted with online volunteer activity. Finally, individual motives for volunteer activity are identified, as well as how these motives are best served in a volunteer program.

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The use of information communications technologies (ICT) in the non governmental organization (NGOs) is explored. Relevance Factor- a theory on the need for appropriate and widespread application of ICT is one focus. The application of ICT using a knowledge database is another; a discussion on good practice within the NGO, grounded in the real world, and aided by an agile philosophy, follows.

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The purpose of this study is to compare and contrast major theories in morality and human development. As technology makes social action possible from any location in the world, volunteerism evolves from simple acts of selflessness into a means for a cultural learning experience, a professional network, and improved well-being. The Internet makes cross culture assistance a reality for anyone; however, in these acts, universal principles are redefined. This study begins with an exploration of the meaning of help, and then there is a discussion on modern moral development in society and the individual. An examination of the development of cross-cultural communication, technology and its effects on society follow.

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Human behavior theories are analyzed and converted into action theories geared toward facilitating the introduction of information communication technologies (ICT) in organizational processes. Action theories introduced include the Relevance Factor, Agile Management, and Communication Theory. The final objective is to apply knowledge, minimize interference, and promote leadership in the use of ICT. In a more appropriate application of ICT, it is proposed that its potential as a product and efforts toward closing the digital divide can be realized. Intellectual Property Rights online: how or can they be protected? This is a basic introduction to intellectual property rights on the Internet. First intellectual property is defined, and then legal decisions in intellectual property and the current debate are explored. Issues in intellectual property such as policy making, protection, and the Internet’s original intent are presented. Finally, solutions to these problems are discussed in order to make better decisions about intellectual property protection online.

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A study of the theories and methodologies behind decision-making: ideas like uncertainty, chaos theory and the observer effect are part of a discussion on problem solving in a non-deterministic environment. Decision theories are analyzed and compared in order to create a more holistic model for today’s interconnected world. This study concludes with discussion of a survey on communication choices among individuals in order to understand how individuals and organizations can be more effective decision makers.

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In this short essay, I define Knowledge Engineering today and discuss its importance in the past, present, and future. Practical examples are used to demonstrate important concepts in Knowledge Engineering.

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Choosing Software for your Online Organization: running your website on a low-budget

Inventing Your E-Commerce: a basic IT strategy personalized for an E-Commerce.

Best Practices Online: web site success through the regular implementation of IT strategies.

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In many parts of the world, women do not have the access to modern technologies that men do, despite the benefits of technology for both genders (Gill, Brooks, McDougall, Patel, & Kes, 2010). Gender disparities in access range between 45% and 25% in low to middle income countries. Barriers to access include a lack of resources, like the hardware, software, and training required to get online and use the Internet (Gill et al., 2010; "Women and the Web", 2012). Gender bias, social norms, education, and digital literacy are also obstacles to Internet access. Yet benefits to full Internet access include the ability to network, seek information, and find opportunities (Hruska, 2012) .

Build Community

Through use of social networks, women form bonds with other women having common interests, whether it is the arts, education, health, or another area (Gill et al., 2010). Online, women can easily connect with friends and family, and also find encouragement; through self-expression in these networks, feelings are validated, and women find support that they might not otherwise experience within a small, isolated community with restrictive norms, where women might be judged by their background, education, or income (Gill et al., 2010). In the article, Digital Divide Looms Large for Women and Girls in Developing Countries, Larsen (2013) writes about a women in Mexico whole goes online to find support from friends to leave an abusive relationship. Online, women can choose to meet in 'safe' virtual communities, collaborate in private groups, and use free online resources, like project management tools and video conferencing (Larsen, 2013; "Women and the Web", 2012). Tools like Skype and email are more convenient and cost effective than use of the post office to exchange large documents, like important health and governmental information.

When women share ideas on these networks, a new world opens to opportunities that they might not have considered for themselves before; self-confidence to try new things grows (Gill et al., 2010). For instance, women might start to make change on a local level once they have found the Internet as an outlet to not only be heard by local leaders, but by the world (Gill et al., 2010). A Ugandan women describes her first experience going online in 2006, where she was able to connect with like-minded women on a global level, expanding her professional and social network ("Women and the Web," 2012). She began a blog on women's empowerment and health, and discusses how her experience has shaped her career.

Find Opportunity

Because of the various rates of technological development and other barriers to access, the introduction of technology should be a process that involves women from the start (Gill et al., 2010). With this, women become part of a solution where they use technology to reach goals, gain self-confidence, and set even higher-level goals (Gill et al., 2010; Hruska, 2012). This style of approach to the introduction of technology in the developing world is a perpetual process that leads to increased productivity, income, skills, and broader social benefits, as the whole community becomes healthier. Women are more involved in decision-making and economic conditions improve (Gill et al., 2010). Plus, there is the benefit of a more participatory community and increased employment opportunity, as is explained by Gill et al. (2010), "Use of the Internet provides direct benefits to employment by helping women search for jobs or expand networks to improve job prospects. But even beyond that, the ability to operate a computer and to maneuver the Internet with confidence are increasingly critical to qualify for jobs. Mastery of these skills boosts women's overall confidence and provides further information on work opportunities" (p. 33).

The abundance of free resources online, like business tools, MOOCS, and skills training make education and career seeking more attainable (Hruska, 2012). In addition, other tools and services can expedite previously tedious tasks, like shopping and acquiring health resources ( "Women and the Web", 2012 ). Online, women can use nonprofit organizational assistance and other resources to accomplish goals like starting their dream business online, building their own nonprofit organization, and selling local, handcrafted items.

Access Knowledge

One woman described the Internet as a personal library with a wealth of information on topics from cooking to entertainment, academic research to robot building ("Women and the Web," 2012). Women know that information is power to make a bad situation better (Larsen, 2012). In one study of the health information needs of a community of Malaysian housewives, women surveyed responded that they would like an improved infrastructure created by authorities that included an IT literacy program and circulation of articles discussing the benefits of the Internet, especially among the home bound and disabled women (Bakar & Alhadri, 2009). They would like this program even though there are issues of literacy and other barriers to access, where sources like newspapers, magazines, and the radio were more frequently used (Bakar & Alhadri, 2009). The information needs of these women in areas like education and health were critical, especially among those without income or literacy. With Internet availability, access, and training, the information needs of these women could be satisfied (Bakar & Alhadri, 2009).


To most people, access to the Internet is a human right and pathway to freedom, empowerment, and liberation ("Women and the Web", 2012). Individual benefits of Internet access include increased self-confidence and access to job and educational opportunities and knowledge (Hruska, 2002, 2013). Widespread benefits include gender equality and diverse economic and political growth.

The more women are online, the more they will find the benefit of technology ("Women and the Web", 2012). Fortunately, today, there are nonprofit organizations that donate hardware, software (see here) and training (and here) to communities in need; and, there are initiatives to develop broadband access in remote communities (see here). Most important is that technology is developed in an all-inclusive direction to reach its true potential (Hruska, 2012).


(2012). Women and the Web. Intel Corp. Retrieved February 15, 2014 from http://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/technology-in-education/women-in-the-web.html

Bakar, A. & Alhadri, A. (2009). Seeking access to health information: The dilemma of woman community in rural Malaysia. IFLA. Retrieved February 15, 2014 from http://irep.iium.edu.my/10944/

Gill, K., Brooks, K., McDougall, J., Patel, P. & Kes, A. (2010). Bridging the Gender Divide: How
Technology Can Advance Women Economically. IRCW. Retrieved February 15, 2014 fromhttp://www.icrw.org/files/publications/Bridging-the-Gender-Divide-How-Technology-can-Advance-Women-Economically.pdf

Hruska, N. (2013). Self-Efficacy, Self-Regulation, and Technology. Retrieved February 15, 2014 from http://research.nataliehruska.com/se_sr_tech.html

Hruska, N. (2012). The Internet as a Tool for Global, Social Change. Retrieved February 15, 2014 from http://research.nataliehruska.com.

Larsen, J. (2014). Digital Divide Looms Large for Women and Girls in Developing Countries. Impatient Optimists.org. Retrieved February 15, 2014 from http://www.impatientoptimists.org/Posts/2013/01/New-Report-Access-to-Internet-is-a-quotLifelinequot-for-Women-and-Girls-in-Developing-Countries

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Concepts of self-efficacy and self-regulation were the focus of this research study. First, self-efficacy and its connection to goal setting were explored. Next, the connection of self-efficacy to self-regulation was discussed. Then, features of self-regulation were described. The use of technology to support self-regulation was introduced. This study investigated three questions. First, it asked if Internet technology could be associated with self-regulatory tasks, like shopping and taking care of one’s health. Next, it questioned if Internet self-efficacy, or favorable belief in one’s ability to navigate the World Wide Web, could relate to a sense of well-being. Finally, this study inquired if self-efficacy over one’s health could be connected to use of Internet technology for self-regulatory tasks. As a proposed result, development of self-efficacy might be urged to coexist with technical training to advance the effective use of self-regulatory tools, and fundamentally, higher-level goal attainment and, in turn, self-efficacy. Furthermore, progressive technology might be specially developed to meet the future needs of groups and individuals that want to support and maintain progress toward attainment of unique, positive, higher-level goals.


Self-efficacy refers to the degree in which a person believes they can control the situations and outcomes in their lives by changing behavior, thinking, and other factors (Bandura, 1994). Self-efficacy is central to self-regulation: an adaptive, learned strategy used by individuals to progress toward goal achievement, whether for themselves or groups (Bandura & Wood, 1989; Baumeister & Vohs, 2007). The higher an individual’s self-efficacy, the higher the goals they will set, and the greater the commitment to these goals through use of self-regulation (Bandura, 1993).

Throughout history, the technology of a culture has been used to assist in self-regulation, like through writing and recording (Zimmerman & Kitsantas, 1997). However, with the rapid, widespread advancement of new technologies, there is a gap in research on the utility of modern technology as self-regulatory tool for a diverse population. The more people understand modern day technologies’ use to assist in self-regulation, the more efficacious it can be in developing self-regulation skills and self-efficacy in adults and children in the future. Self-regulation skills are important to goal setting, goal achievement, success, and overall well-being.

Three questions were investigated for this study. The first asks if technology can be considered a significant tool for self-regulation. The second question investigates how technology self-efficacy compares to well-being. The third question asks how health-related self-efficacy compares to self-regulation tasks using Internet technology.

Literature Review


Bandura (1993) described the origins of self-efficacy as stemming from different sources, like physiological, passive, and social. Through a combination of self-persuasion and cognitive processing, people develop a sense of self-efficacy, or sense of control over their well-being. Self-efficacy affects many aspects of the inner life, like motivation, thinking, perseverance, and goal achievement (Bandura, 1991).  A person with higher self-efficacy will set higher goals and have a higher degree of commitment to their more challenging goals (Bandura, 1991, 1993). They will enjoy problem solving, the process of mastering skills, and accomplishing their goals; accordingly, they will be less likely to fail at achieving their goals (Bandura & Wood, 1989).

In contrast, an individual with a low sense of self-efficacy is susceptible to goal failure; they will choose the wrong kinds of goals, and they will feel self-doubt about use of higher-level cognitive skills (Bandura & Wood, 1989; Bandura, 1993).  Individuals with low self-efficacy will select simple goals as opposed to challenging goals in order to avoid the unknown and protect themselves from failure. Moreover, people with low self-efficacy might feel too fatigued to overcome the rumination of negative thoughts, contributing to a relentless cycle of feelings of depression, lack of ambition, and stress (Bandura, 1993). 

Since self-efficacy is considered to be at the core of self-regulation, Bandura (1993) suggested that parents and teachers build a sense of self-efficacy in young children along with skills to use tools to self-regulate, like the technologies used in today’s knowledge-based culture. The more that is understood about how to use self-regulatory tools, the better people will be at self-regulation, and the greater the success they will achieve in emerging and distinct environments, such as the self-directed style of learning seen in the online learning environment. Results of one study showed that self-efficacy related to use of the Internet was not significantly correlated with student satisfaction, however interaction with the content, other learners, and the instructor was (Kuo, 2011). Nevertheless, the first predictor of student satisfaction, the learner and content, included interactive technologies like interactivity media, like videos and chat. This could suggest that even though Internet self-efficacy was not connected to student satisfaction, there might be a connection of use of successful use of technology to student success. This study will investigate more about the possible connection of Internet technology self-efficacy to factors like well-being and self-regulation.

In one study of a group of managers, Bandura and Wood (1989) confirmed that self-efficacy was central to skills in focusing and motivating, which are associated to use of self-regulation. In addition, self-efficacy was connected to the perception of a situation- whether it is perceived as controllable or not controllable. In one simulation study, organizations perceived as changeable as opposed to unchangeable correlated with manager’s perceived operative self-efficacy or ability to manage the organization effectively, regardless of the resources available to assist them in their management. For those organizations perceived as changeable, manager’s self-efficacy was higher; they set complex higher-level and thought more strategically. This group regulation is more complex than regulation of the self and toward simple tasks; a variety of skills are used, like creative skills to uphold operative self-efficacy in a changing environment. Findings revealed that resources at hand did not affect the sense of self-efficacy, but the perceived changeability did. Important to note is that one element of self-regulatory skills is choosing goals that are realistic (Baumeister & Heatherton, 1996). Perhaps modern technological tools can be the answer because they assist in complex problem solving, motivation, planning and more. The proper goals can be selected and refined, adjusted, and adapted based on conditions. There will be more options for managers to look to standards to base their decisions, and this, in turn, might increase sense of self-efficacy in organizations perceived as unchangeable (Zimmerman & Kitsantas, 1997).    

Self-efficacy is important and should be developed throughout life by use of various sources. Self-efficacy has been determined to be important to self-regulation in many ways, like in the goals individuals’ set, their commitment to these goals, and their perception of their ability to enact change (Bandura, 1993; Bandura & Wood, 1989). One important factor might be the perceived controllability of an environment. People with lower self-efficacy will be purse lower-level goals and ruminate over negative thoughts, feeling depressed that they cannot move forward, in contrast to people with higher self-efficacy. Modern technology is proposed as an intervening tool. In the next section, the nature of self-regulation is described.


The choices and adjustments people make in response to stimulus to achieve goals within the guidelines of their unique environment call upon self-regulation skills (Baumeister & Vohs, 2007; Baumeister, Gailliot, DeWall, & Oaten, 2006).  Self-regulation is referred to as the “trump card of personality” used to overcome deficits or inadequacies (Baumeister et al., p. 1796). For example, if someone wants to lose weight, they use their self-regulatory skills, perhaps by going to the gym and preparing healthy meals every day (Baumeister & Heatherton, 1996). Components of self-regulation include transcendence, or thinking beyond the present to the long-term goal, and use of self-control to maintain the practice of self-regulation; the more practice and repetition, the better self-regulation skills become (Baumeister & Heatherton, 1996).  Furthermore, practicing use of self-regulation in one situation can strengthen its use in others (Baumeister et al., 2006).

Self-regulation is complex and can refer to various adaptive skills in a human being, whether skills are used for short or long term goals in their social, academic or career lives, and whether the motivation is complex or simple. Paying the bills, buying groceries, and higher-level tasks, like acquiring an education, are all considered necessary, self-regulatory aspects of culture. At some point, motivations and goals related to culture can conflict, and this is when self-regulatory skills are most important to success (Baumeister & Vohs, 2007).  Self-regulation can also be used to curb motivations when they are for the wrong kinds of goals.  As was mentioned, in situations perceived as uncontrollable, modern technology might provide the unique mechanism needed to make a difference (Amini, 2013). Individuals will be able to use their self-regulatory skills to achieve mutually compatible goals.    

Zimmerman and Kitsantas (1997) underscore the necessity of social guidance when learning self-regulatory skills for the first time as opposed to self-discovery, since the origin of skill in culture is social and cognitive. Through social validation, learned strategy, and increased self-efficacy and motivation, progress is made toward goal achievement. Cultural communication tools like writing, spoken language, and modeling are used pass skills onto their next generation, just as modern technology might also be used to pass on self-regulatory skills. 

Cognitive skills are developed through observation of another person using the skill, whether in person, video, or another source; after use of cognitive resources, an individual might use imitation and guidance to build their internal standards and reinforce what they have learned; then, self-control is important to internalize and personalize the skill; finally, the skill is mastered, and adapted to different situations through use of self regulation (Zimmerman & Kitsantas, 1997).  Mastery of a skill is refined when individuals are able to observe their outcomes and adjust behavior to what works best for them; skill mastery is hypothesized to affect self-efficacy, interest in the skill, and performance.

People look to standards to inform them on the progress of their self-regulation, like operation manuals instructing them of where they have been and where they want to go (Baumeister & Vohs, 2007).  Standards are the first of the four interchangeable facets of self-regulation. The next ingredient is monitoring as part of a feedback loop, where an individual might check their progress and re align with the standard as needed. In this self-regulatory cycle, considered to be a self-diagnostic tool, people might experience changes in their self-efficacy and learned skills as they push themselves further to goal attainment. However, since the self-observation of outcomes can be unreliable, focus should be on learning the skill first to prevent ego depletion (Zimmerman & Kitsantas, 1997; Bandura, 1991). When the third ingredient, willpower, or self-control, is low, the fourth ingredient, motivation, can take over to maintain engagement in self-regulatory activity or stifle impulses that conflict with it, whether it is fatigue, mood, beliefs or something else (Baumeister & Vohs, 2007; Bandura, 1991).

The advantage of practicing self-regulation is the preservation of self-efficacy: blame is less on oneself when failure occurs and more on the strategy used and the process (Zimmerman & Kitsantas, 1997).  However, self-regulation is a limited resource, yet renewable (Baumeister & Heatherton, 1996). When ego depletion occurs, people are more susceptible to bad behavior, they are less motivated, have less self control, and their unique differences diminish (Baumeister et al., 2006). Self-regulation can be adversely affected by factors like a lack of standards, western norms, insufficient monitoring, fatigue, and uncertainty (Baumeister & Heatherton, 1996).  In one study, results showed that avoidant people with ego depletion would discuss low-intimacy topics while anxious people with ego depletion would be more intimate, as opposed to both groups choosing the more appropriate middle level of intimacy; ego depletion is also linked to passivity and sexual infidelity  (Baumeister et al., 2006). When self-regulation is ineffective, results include negative behaviors like crime, addiction, and overspending (Baumeister & Heatherton, 1996). Moreover, when self-regulation capacities are low, an individual is at risk for relapse of bad behavior which can send them in a cycle of diminished mental and physical capacities and reduced self-efficacy; therefore, it is a challenge to begin self regulating again. To self-regulate requires energy to make decisions and execute self-control- a task that leaves the ego depleted, which is a natural response to the limitedness of the self-regulatory resource (Baumeister & Heatherton, 1996; Baumeister & Vohs, 2007).  Studies have shown the need for glucose to be effective at self-regulation, and a caloric supply in general to prevent depletion of the ego. Individuals use conservation and other techniques to self-regulate effectively, like how runners succeed at a marathon (Baumeister & Vohs, 2007). 

There are many ways self-regulation can go wrong or mis regulate, by prioritizing wrong, trying to control the wrong thing, or setting the wrong kinds of goals with unrealistic ideas about one self and the world  (Baumeister & Heatherton, 1996). As has been shown in history, people use the tools of their culture to pass on skills. Important to consider is how modern technology might aid in the development and maintenance of self-efficacy and self-regulation as tools to focus, motivate, and support goal attainment in different environments.


Modern society is characterized by its use of mechanical power to efficiently complete tasks (Amini, 2013). For example, computer technology facilitates communication, whether through its ability to store data to assist in decision-making or to support change on a micro or macro level (2013). There are a number of computer applications built for multiple devices on the market targeted toward unique individual and group needs, like planning, health support, social networking, and much more. Modern technology is especially helpful in places where other resources are limited, like in their financial or social support. Modern day apps include tools to stay healthy in body, mind, and spirit. Other tools assist in attaining education, completing career-related tasks, and expanding one’s social network. Moreover, technology enables non profit organizations in remote parts of the world gain support, whether monetary or through donation of skills. For example, in recent years, online volunteers have grown to be a powerful force with real evidence of the results, like increased non-profit organizational financial and other support (Hruska, 2012). These volunteers operate strictly by use of modern technology like the Internet and email.  Amini (2013) illuminates how coding of social data using technology can generate new ideas in the multiple realms of modern society, like the cultural, political, social, economic, and professional. Amini (2013) refers to this spread of use of information and communication technologies as an inevitable, global force that might be considered imperialistic, but in reality is an intelligent and cooperative, fluid system.

In the knowledge economy, scientific and other knowledge becomes more powerful than economic wealth (UN Millennium Project, 2005). Use of information and communication technologies can change lives and remove the obstructions to open communication and human rights; benefits include the alleviation of poverty, increase in efficiency, and personal power (2013). This might connect to increased self-efficacy on an individual and group level, in addition to the effectiveness of progressive technology to support self-regulation and goal attainment.  Because of modern technology, individuals across the world experience positive changes in their lives, their government and careers. Amini (2013) suggests strategies to adjust to these technologies on the spiritual, mental, physical and other levels.

Individuals, countries, and cultures at different stages of globalization can benefit from developing self-efficacy to use technology. And, likewise, they can benefit from developing technology to meet unique needs. With increased self-efficacy and cutting edge technologies, individuals can support their self-regulatory development and maintenance toward goal achievement, pursuit of higher-level goals, and success as an adult on a global level. As the information society becomes more advanced, so do the tools to support self-regulation. Therefore, it is necessary to investigate the nature and degree modern technology is used, like Internet websites, in people’s everyday lives, and how this self-regulation might connect to their self-efficacy or well-being. Could there be a fifth ingredient to self-regulation: tool acquisition, like through use of modern technologies?


As a review, the questions investigated for this study asked if technology can be considered a significant tool for self-regulation. The second question investigated how technology self-efficacy might compare to well-being. The third question asked how health-related self-efficacy compared to self-regulation tasks using Internet technology.  Data was taken from a 2012 study on the Effect of Personality on the Use and Perceived Utility of Web-Based Health Resources. The online survey had 184 participants (Hruska, 2012). Questions pertaining to self-regulation tasks were taken from the Georgia Text GVU WWW User Survey Team General Demographics Questionnaire (1998). Questions connected to well-being and Internet self-efficacy were taken from the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project August 2000 Health Questionnaire (2011). Finally, questions related to self-efficacy were taken from the 8-item perceived health competence scale (PHCS) designed by Smith, Wallston, & Smith (1995).

self-regulation tasks using Internet technology
Some people are more comfortable than others when it comes to using the Internet. Which of the following online activities have you done? Check all that apply. Response Percent Response Count
Ordered a product/service from a business, government or educational entity by filling out a form on the web 93.9% 168
Made a purchase online for more than $100 91.1% 163
Used social networking tool (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.) 87.2% 156
Changed your browser's "startup" or "home" page 86.0% 154
Changed your "cookie" preferences 73.2% 131
Participated in an online chat or discussion 84.9% 152
Send or Read email 100.0% 179
Listened to a radio broadcast online 77.7% 139
Made a telephone call online 59.2% 106
Used a nationwide online directory to find an address or telephone number 84.9% 152
Taken a seminar or class about the Web or Internet 60.3% 108
Bought a book to learn more about the Web or Internet 34.6% 62
Checked weather reports and forecasts 93.9% 168
Look for health or medical information online 97.8% 175

self-regulation tasks using Internet technology
Here are some things people sometimes do when getting advice or information about health or health care on the Internet. Some people have done these things, but other people have not. Check all that apply to you. Response Percent Response Count
looked for information about an illness or condition that you or someone you know has 97.7% 171
bought medicine or vitamins online 32.6% 57
participated in an online support group for people who are concerned about the same health or medical issue 22.3% 39
used email or gone to a web site to communicate with a doctor or a doctor's office 49.1% 86
clicked on a health or medical web site's privacy policy to read about how the site uses personal information 29.7% 52
described a medical condition or problem online in order to get advice from an online doctor 14.3% 25
kept a health web site "bookmarked", or saved as a "favorite place", so you can go back to it regularly 43.4% 76
looked to see what company or organization is providing the advice or information that appears on a health web site   53.1% 93

Sense of well-being
In general, how would you rate your own health? Please select the best option that applies to you. Response Percent Response Count
Excellent 23.8% 43
Good 55.8% 101
Fair 16.6% 30
Poor 3.9% 7
Don’t know 0% 0
Rather not say 0% 0

Internet Self Efficacy
How satisfied are you with your current skills for using the Internet? Response Percent Response Count
Very satisfied - I can do everything that I want to do  69.7%  124
Somewhat satisfied - I can do most things I want to do  28.1%  50
Neither satisfied nor unsatisfied  1.1%  2
Somewhat unsatisfied - I can't do many things I would like to do  0.6%  1
Very unsatisfied - I can't do most things I would like to do 0.6%  1

Strongly Disagree Disagree Neither/Nor Agree Strongly Agree
I handle myself well with respect to my health 1.1% (2) 11% (20) 9.9% (18)  50.5% (92) 27.5% (50)
No matter how hard I try, my health just doesn't turn out the way I would like 19.6% (36) 39.1% (72) 19.0% (35) 19.0% (35) 3.3% (6)
It is difficult for me to find effective solutions to the health problems that come my way 19.6% (36) 52.7% (97) 13.6% (25) 12.0% (22) 2.2% (4)
I succeed in the projects I undertake to improve my health 0.0% (0) 9.2% (17) 26.6% (49) 53.8% (99) 10.3% (19)
I'm generally able to accomplish my goals with respect to my health 1.1% (2) 17.0% (31) 18.1% (33) 53.8% (98) 9.9% (18)
I find my efforts to change things I don't like about my health are ineffective 11.5% (21) 47.5% (87) 18.6% (34) 21.3% (39) 1.1% (2)
Typically, my plans for my health don't work out well 15.2% (28) 47.8% (88) 15.2% (28) 19.0% (35) 2.7% (5)
I am able to do things for my health as well as most other people 1.1% (2) 11.5% (21) 17% (31) 53.3% (97) 17% (31)


The results of this questionnaire provided significant evidence that people use the Internet for everyday, self-regulatory tasks. The first question, if technology can be considered a significant tool for self-regulation, was confirmed with 100% of the participants reporting having read or sent email; more than 90% have ordered a product or service, checked the weather, and looked for health information online. Ninety-eight percent have searched online for information about a health condition they have or someone else has; nearly 50% have used the Internet to communicate with their doctor; and, 22% have used online support. More than 80% have used an online directory, used social networking, and participated in an online discussion or chat. Tasks and activities such as these can all be considered self-regulatory aspects of culture using modern technology.

The second question investigated how technology self-efficacy compared to well-being. With 80% of people reporting either good or excellent sense of health and 98% of people either somewhat or very satisfied with their skills using the Internet, this suggests a connection between well-being and technology use skills. Consider the transmission and osmosis of self-regulation skills through use of the technology of a culture, as was discussed earlier. Greater self-regulatory skills means higher goal planning and attainment, leading to a cycle of increased self-efficacy and goal setting, and enhanced, overall well-being.

The third question asked how health-related self-efficacy compared to self-regulation tasks using Internet technology. Seventy percent of participants responded that they could manage their health as well as most people. Seventy-eight percent agreed or strongly agreed that they handled themselves well with respect to their health. Sixty-four percent answered that they succeeded in projects undertaken to improve their health and that they were generally able to accomplish their health goals. This shows that people use ‘projects’, which can connate higher-level problem solving and a use of a process toward goal attainment. Self-efficacy is connected to motivation to progress toward goals; and, as was mentioned, an advantage of self-regulatory skills is use of a standard process rather than blaming oneself on failures. People reported self-regulatory tasks like looking for health information online (98%), and participating in more engaged tasks, like participating in online support groups (22%). As technology develops, so might use of these tools.

Sixty-three percent of people disagreed that their plans for managing health fail, and 59% of people disagreed that they could not enact change. Seventy-seven percent disagreed that they had difficulty finding effective solutions to health problems, and 59% disagreed that their health does not turn out they way they want.  People generally believe that they can change things. Could this be due to the higher rate of use of technology? Future research might investigate situations deemed as unchangeable, as was the case in the study of managers, and how this might connect to use of self-regulatory tools. Modern technology evolves to support complex problem solving, providing options and drawing on a database of knowledge and current resources to develop, maintain, and plan toward positive goal attainment on the micro and macro level.

How to Cite: Hruska, N. (2013). Self-Efficacy, Self-Regulation, and Technology. Natalie Hruska.com. May 17, 2013. Retrieved from http://research.nataliehruska.com/


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Part I of study on Information Seeking using Web-Based Resources, Locus of Control, and Prevention and Self-Management of Diabetes within Minority Populations

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