An analysis of technology use and quality of life in a rural west Texas community



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Texas Tech University


As the populations in rural West Texas communities continue to decline, the resources the community can use to rebuild its population also decline. As the resources decline, so does the population. The downward spiral feeds on itself until the community has very little to offer its residents in quality of life. As computer and Internet technology become more available, the world becomes smaller and smaller. We now live in a global economy where access to products, services, and information can be had as quickly as the click of a mouse. This study was undertaken to measure how much and for what purposes the citizens of Littlefield, Texas, used computers and the Internet.

Furthermore, it was sought to determine the quality of life using pre-tested instruments designed to measure adults' and adolescents' views of then quality of life. The author used a tool that defined quality of life as, "How good is your life for you?" By determining whether technology use is positively correlated to a person's view of his or her quality of life, then one could also determine whether greater diffusion of computer technology and adoption of broadband Internet access might provide answers to the youth and leadership migration from rural areas to metropolitan areas.

The results of this study indicated that an overwhelming majority of the residents of Littlefield, Texas, consider their quality of life to be adequate, very adequate, or excellent. Only three reported their quality of life as problematic and none as very problematic. As age increased, the resident's quality of life seemed to increase. Researchers conducting this study found little correlation between the use of computers and the Internet and quality of life. Technology, defined for this study as computer plus Internet use, was negatively correlated with quality of life as age increased.

However, broadband Internet access at home was slightly positively correlated for high school students' parents who fell in the middle age bracket. For Littlefield High School students, a negative correlation existed between grade level and quality of life. Males indicated a higher number of hours using technology than females.