Date of Award

12-2014

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Department

Sociology

First Advisor

Dr. Whitney DeCamp

Second Advisor

Dr. Zoann Snyder

Third Advisor

Dr. Angela Moe

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Campus Only

Restricted to Campus until

12-15-2024

Abstract

This study explores the relationship between recreational involvement with video games and an interest in computer science as well as confidence with computers. Multiple works have acknowledged that the content in video games and the video game culture is presently very hostile towards women. Simultaneously, the number of women pursuing computer science has been decreasing since the 1980s. Past studies have suggested that playing video games can increase confidence with computers and may lead to an interest in computer science. Using data collected from 1,124 college students, this study addresses this issue by using a variety of measures to gauge video game playing interest and habits as predictors of confidence with and interest in computers. The findings conclude that playing video games does increase confidence with computers as well as interest in computer science, particularly for those who play a variety of different genres of games. The conclusion suggests that video games may be an important cultural factor for understanding why so few women pursue studying computer science.

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