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Emotional experiences of cybersecurity breach victims

Budimir, S., Fontaine, J. R. J. and Roesch, E. B. ORCID: (2021) Emotional experiences of cybersecurity breach victims. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, 24 (9). ISSN 2152-2715

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1089/cyber.2020.0525


The present study investigated emotional reactions to cybersecurity breaches. Based on prior research, a context-specific instrument was developed. This new instrument covered all five emotion components identified by the componential emotion approach. In total, 145 participants that experienced a cybersecurity breach reported on their appraisals, action tendencies, bodily reactions, expressions, subjective feelings, and regulation attempts. A Principal Component Analysis on a total of 75 emotion reactions revealed a clear three-dimensional structure. The first dimension represented the extent to which the person was generally emotionally affected. The second dimension revealed constructive action tendencies and subjective feelings which were opposed to unconstructive action tendencies, expressions, and bodily reactions. The third dimension revealed cognitive motivational reactions which were opposed to affective reactions. The present study clearly indicated that cybersecurity breaches do not only form a challenge for engineers, but also have important psychological ramifications that need to be addressed. While some people have a tendency to react with constructive and proactive actions that are likely to limit the negative consequences of the cybersecurity breach, others experience a strong negative affective stress reaction and are unlikely to take the appropriate steps to deal with the security breach situation. These people, especially, can be expected to be vulnerable to psychological complaints and possibly psychopathology. The newly developed instrument uses a comprehensive approach to assess emotional reactions to cybersecurity threats and provides an efficient way to identify potentially problematic reactions.

Item Type:Article
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:98418
Uncontrolled Keywords:Cyber security; cyberpsychology; emotions; emotion processes, component process model
Publisher:Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.


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