Personality Antecedents and Consequences of Internet Addiction Vis-à-vis Internet Habit: a Theory and an Empirical Investigation

Abstract

Researchers in information systems have studied how nonintentional elements of our psychology such as personality, addiction, and even sheer habit, can waylay us from our original purpose of using information technology. This study seeks to reintegrate these elements to present a holistic framework comparing Internet addiction with Internet habit in terms of their antecedent personality factors and their consequences. We tested the framework against data from a time-lagged survey of Internet users. As hypothesized, sensation seeking, neuroticism, and dysfunctional impulsivity influenced Internet addiction. In comparison, only neuroticism and dysfunctional impulsivity were significant in Internet habit. Furthermore, Internet addiction influences relative usage and negative outcomes, and habit further increases its influence on negative outcomes. Our findings contribute to the body of knowledge by showing the personality antecedents and behavioral consequences of Internet addiction, and by highlighting the similarity, difference, and interaction between Internet habit and Internet addiction.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    We thank Reviewer 1 for encouraging us to elaborate on this issue.

  2. 2.

    We thank Reviewer 2 for kindly pointing out this important issue.

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Measurement Items

Measurement Items

Sensation Seeking (SS)

  • I am interested in having new experiences just for the sake of experiencing new sensations.

  • I enjoy getting into new situations where I can’t predict how things will turn out.

  • I like to let myself go and do impulsive things just for fun.

  • I do not try to restrain my urges to have exciting experiences.

  • I’ll try anything once.

Neuroticism (NEU)

  • I often feel uneasy.

  • I sometimes feel depressed.

  • Negative thoughts sometimes obsess me.

  • I sometimes find it difficult to concentrate.

Extraversion (EXT)

  • I like to entertain others in social gatherings.

  • I like to be the center of attention in a gathering.

  • I have a rich social life.

  • I like to join in activities organized by my friends.

Aggressiveness (AGG)

  • If somebody hits me, I hit them back.

  • When people shout at me, I shout back at them.

  • If I feel I am being attacked, I tend to get upset and lose my temper.

Activity (ACT)

  • I like to be constantly busy doing things.

  • I do not like to waste time just sitting down relaxing.

  • When there’s a job to be done, I devote all my energy to getting it done. (d)

Functional Impulsivity (FI)

  • I don’t like to make decisions quickly. (r)

  • I don’t like to take part in really fast-paced conversations. (r)

  • I don’t like to do things quickly. (r)

  • I try to avoid activities where I have to act without much time to think first. (r)

Dysfunctional Impulsivity (DI)

  • I frequently make appointments without thinking about whether I will be able to keep them.

  • I often make up my mind without taking the time to consider the situation from all angles.

  • Many times the plans I make don’t work out because I haven’t gone over them carefully enough in advance.

  • I often get involved in projects without first considering the potential problems.

Relative Usage (RU)

  • My use of the Internet over the past month has increased as compared with before then.

  • I have spent more time on using the Internet over the past month than usual.

  • I have used the Internet more frequently over the past month than I usually do.

  • My use of the Internet over the past month has been more intensive than usual.

Negative Outcomes (NO)

  • I often overlook chores to spend more time using the Internet.

  • I sometimes lose sleep due to the use of the Internet late at night.

  • My use of the Internet has made it difficult for me to manage my life.

  • Internet use has created problems for me in my life.

Internet Addiction (ADD)

  • I sometimes feel that I am driven to use the Internet.

  • My use of the Internet sometimes seems beyond my control.

  • I feel a strong urge to use the Internet constantly.

  • I find it difficult to overrule my impulse to use the Internet.

Internet Habit (HAB)

  • I use the Internet without even being aware of making the choice.

  • Using the Internet is something I do unconsciously.

  • Using the Internet is routine without a deliberate plan beforehand.

Satisfaction with Using the Internet (SAT)

  • I like using the Internet.

  • I am satisfied with my use of the Internet.

  • I am content with my use of the Internet.

  • I am pleased with my use of the Internet.

Past Internet Use (PIU)

  • How intensive has your use of the Internet been? (1 = very light; 7 = very heavy)

Social Desirability (SI)

  • I am quick to admit making a mistake.

  • I never hesitate to go out of my way to help someone in trouble.

  • I am always a good listener, no matter who I am talking to.

  • I am always courteous, even to people who are disagreeable.

Age (AGE)

  • Age in years (Years old).

Gender (GEN).

  • Gender (1 = male; 2 = female).

Notes:

  • Unless otherwise indicated, the anchors for all items were 1 = strongly disagree to 7 = strongly agree.

  • d: deleted after initial confirmatory factor analysis.

  • † included to check social desirability bias.

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Kuem, J., Ray, S. Personality Antecedents and Consequences of Internet Addiction Vis-à-vis Internet Habit: a Theory and an Empirical Investigation. Inf Syst Front (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10796-021-10110-2

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Keywords

  • Online user behavior
  • Personality
  • Habit
  • Addiction
  • Time‐lagged survey study
  • Structural equation modeling