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Emotional reactions to cybersecurity breach situations: a scenario-based survey study

Budimir, S., Fontaine, J. R. J., Huijts, N. M. A., Haans, A., Loukas, G. and Roesch, E. B. ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-8913-4173 (2021) Emotional reactions to cybersecurity breach situations: a scenario-based survey study. Journal of Medical Internet Research. ISSN 1438-8871 (In Press)

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To link to this item DOI: 10.2196/24879

Abstract/Summary

Background: With the ever-expanding interconnectedness through the internet, and especially with the recent development of the Internet of Things (IoT), people are increasingly at risk for cybersecurity breaches that can have far-reaching consequences for one’s personal and professional lives, with psychological and mental health ramifications. Objective: We aim to identify the dimensional structure of emotion processes triggered by one of the most emblematic scenarios of cybersecurity breach, the hacking of one’s smart security camera, and to explore which personality characteristics systematically relate to these emotion dimensions. Methods: A total of 902 participants from the United Kingdom and the Netherlands reported their emotion processes triggered by a cybersecurity breach scenario. Moreover, they reported on their Big Five personality traits, as well as on key indicators for resilient, over-controlling (internalizing problems), and under-controlling (aggression) personality types. Results: Principal component analyses revealed a clear three-dimensional structure of emotion processes: emotional intensity, proactive vs fight/flight reactions, and affective vs cognitive/motivational reactions. Regression analyses revealed that more internalizing problems (β = .33, p < .001), resilience (β = .22, P < .001), and agreeableness (β = .12, P < .001, and less emotional stability (β = -.25, P < .001) have significant predictive value for higher emotional intensity. More internalizing problems (β = .26, P < .001), aggression (β = .25, P < .001), extraversion (β = .07, p = .01), and less resilience (β = -.19, P < .001), agreeableness (β = -.34, P < .001), consciousness (β = -.19, P < .001), and openness (β = -.22, P < .001) have significant predictive value for comparatively more fight/flight than proactive reactions. Less internalizing problems (β = -.32, P < .001), and more emotional stability (β = .14, P < .001), and aggression (β = .13, P < .001) have significant predictive value for a comparatively higher salience for cognitive/motivational than affective reactions. Conclusion: To adequately describe the emotion processes triggered by a cybersecurity breach, two more dimensions are needed over and above the general negative affectivity dimension. This multidimensional structure is further supported by the differential relationships of the emotion dimensions with personality characteristics. The discovered emotion structure could be used for consistent predictions about who is at risk to develop long-term mental well-being issues due to a cybersecurity breach experience. Keywords: Cybersecurity breach victims, Emotions, Personality, Mental health, Internet of Things (IoT)

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Interdisciplinary Research Centres (IDRCs) > Centre for Integrative Neuroscience and Neurodynamics (CINN)
Life Sciences > School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences > Department of Psychology
Life Sciences > School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences > Neuroscience
Life Sciences > School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences > Perception and Action
ID Code:97057
Publisher:JMIR Publications

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