The profusion of
smartphones allows more people to have access to a telephone, a computer and
the Internet, all via one device. Despite this convenience, excessive usage and
habitual checking can cause signi?cant stress for smartphone users. With the
rapid development of mobile communications technologies, smartphones provide
people with additional convenience, overuse of it may have negative life effect
such as technostress. This study determines the in?uences of psychological
characteristics including locus of control (LOC) and social interaction anxiety
(SIA) towards technostress and compulsive smartphone usage. For this purpose, a
survey based method will be used to collect data from students.
Self-administered questionnaires will be distributed to the students of
Institute of Administrative Sciences, University of the Punjab, Lahore. After
data collection, a total of 150 questionnaires will be collected and entered
for data analysis. The statistical analysis will indicate the in?uences of
psychological characteristics towards compulsive usage and technostress.
smartphone; technostress; compulsive usage; psychological characteristics; locus
of control; social interaction anxiety
“technostress” was ?rst proposed in 1984 by psychologist Craig Brod in his book
Technostress: The Human Cost of the Computer Revolution. It is defined
as ”a modern disease of adaptation caused by an inability to cope with new
computer technologies in a healthy manner” (Brod, 1984).
Weil and Rosen, in their 1997 book TechnoStress: Coping With Technology @work
@home @play, expanded the de?nition of technostress to include “any
negative impact on attitudes, thoughts, behaviors, or body psychology caused
directly or indirectly by technology” (Weil &
Rosen, 1997). Clear symptoms of technostress include the
inability to concentrate on a single issue and the feeling of loss of control. At
the same time, it may inhibit an individual’s further learning or using
computer and information technology. However, the use of technology also
appears to also have negative effects on the psychological wellbeing of
In this study, technostress specifically
refers to stress related to the use of smartphone. The users of a mobile
technology who are familiar with the current operating technology encountering
specific stress caused by the characteristics of mobility and/or reachability
of the technology or suffering for a long period of time through continual
connection with that particular mobile technology (Li, 2015). Heavy smartphone usage has also been shown
to increase fatigue, sleep problems and depression, all of which are common
symptoms of stress. Charles et al. (2013) indicated that living under pressure
everyday produces long-term negative effects on users’ mental health. Since
mobile devices like smartphones and tablets are the most common communication
devices at present, users have no choice but to accept and use these devices
and mobile apps. Over-reliance on mobile devices eventually leads to compulsive
use and increases the occurrence of technostress. (Kuo-Lun,
indicated that the antecedents of compulsive use and technostress in different
context may be dissimilar (Tarafdar, Tu, & Ragu-Nathan, 2010). The role of personality
traits (extraversion, agreeableness, openness, conscientiousness, and
neuroticism) on compulsive smartphone usage and technostress also has been
widely examined. Though past studies have demonstrated the relationships
between personality traits and compulsive behavior (Lee et al., 2014; Hung et
al., 2015; Tang et al., 2016), but few have used psychological characteristics
(locus of control, social interaction anxiety, need for touch, and materialism)
to explore the factors that impact the compulsive use of smartphone. However,
the influence of psychological characteristics on compulsive use of smartphone
and technology-related stress has not been well-examined, leaving a significant
The purpose of
this study is to investigate the effects of psychological characteristics
including locus of control (LOC) and social interaction anxiety (SIA) towards
compulsive smartphone usage and technostress among students of Institute of
Administrative Sciences, University of the Punjab, Lahore.
2. Literature Review:
have been done to investigate and explore the smartphone usage in every angle
of study in the field like as well as to study the effect of psychological
traits towards compulsive behavior and technostress. The previous research by
Roberts and Pirog (2013) has been determined to investigate the drivers of
technological addiction in college students – heavy users of Information and
Communication Technology (ICT). The findings result found that materialism and
impulsiveness drive both a dependence on cell phones and instant messaging. The
findings of above previous study will support the variables that will be used
in this study which is materialism (Roberts & Pirog, 2013).
by Shahibi et al. (2017), had highlighted the aim of the study of investigating
the dark side of smartphone trend. In this study, they had suggested that
compulsive usage of smartphones and technostress are positively related to
psychological traits, including locus of control, social interaction anxiety,
materialism and the need for touch. In addition, the gender differences also
found in the relationship (Shahibi, Abdul Aziz, Mara, Alam, & Selangor, 2017).
has defined locus of control as a person’s control over life events which was
being widely used as antecedent to individual’s social behaviors or
decision-making. A few years later, the locus of control refers to an
individual’s perceptions about the cause of event in people’s life and also
the ability to affect the outcome through
the people’s own actions (Rotter, 1966).
Internal locus of control suggests that the cause of an
event or behavior depends on one’s internal force, and personal decisions and
efforts can decide or in?uence what will happen in one’s life (Lefcourt, 1991).
Compared with their ”external” counterparts, ”internals” (people with an
internal locus of control) are more likely to engage in problem-focused coping
behaviors, and reduce or eliminate possible stressors (Wang,
Bowling, & Eschleman, 2010). On the other hand, individuals with an
external locus of control believe that events are not within their control but
in the hands of some external force. They tend to believe that their lives are
in?uenced or controlled by fate, luck and other people. This belief leads to a
sense that nothing can be done to change or improve the current situation.
Locus of control in?uences how one copes with stress. Researchers suggest that
externals’ passive tendencies increase the likelihood that externals will
exhibit compulsive behaviors and Internet (Arslan,
Çardak, & Uysal, 2013).
Leary (1982) have been defined that social interaction anxiety is an excessive
fear of social situations or interactions with others, and being evaluated or
scrutinized by other people, particularly when encountering strangers in public
settings (Schlenker & Leary, 1982). Leary (1983) also explored
that acute social anxiety leads to social withdrawal and isolation. Meanwhile,
Morahan- Martin and Schumacher (2003) and Yen, et al. (2012) have shown that
lonely and anxious individuals positively benefit from online interaction. Because
social anxiety is lower when interacting online than when interacting in real
life, interacting online rather than face-to-face has proven to be a useful
alternative, ful?lling the need to interact in a less direct way (Reid & Reid, 2007).
However, this group of people is likely to develop problematic or excessive internet
use behavior (Caplan, 2002).
Problematic Internet use and smartphone use may share the same properties
because they are both related to communication tools and interpersonal
interaction (Tan, Pamuk, & Dönder, 2013). However, the group of people
is likely to develop compulsive or excessive internet use behavior.
usage has been defined by O’Guinn and Faber (1989) as “response to an
uncontrollable drive or desire to obtain, use, or experience a feeling,
substance, or activity that leads the individual to repetitively engage in
behavior that will ultimately cause harm to the individual and/or others”. Therefore,
it will measure the pattern of competitive which including all the person’s
behavior such as window shopping, eating and also all activities that have been
doing every day as mentioned by (Parylak, Koob, & Zorrilla, 2011). Other than that, the study by
Matusik & Mickel (2011) had been found that the compulsive behaviors are
addicted to be more certain, adverse consequences of psychological distress
such as depression and stress are more likely to be induced as well. Lee at al., (2014) has been found that the
technostress can be served as a useful sign of stress (Lee, Lee, & Suh, 2016).
is defined as “The Consequence of Technology” by Champion (1988) which
concluded that the rapidly and changing technology would be affecting the
person’s life (?ahin & Çoklar, 2009). In the research by Brod
(1982) has been found that the probability factors that can influence on
technostress as being depend on the level of technical experience of the user,
age, pressure of supervision during used, general working and environment in
the situation or event. The technostress has been studied by some of the
previous research. Some of the research is by Enis (2005) which had been
determined the six fundamental factors that librarians used in connecting with
technostress which action that’s been regarding to this issue. In addition, it
is also defined that the technological innovations will change very rapidly
because of that, the technostress will be more affected to the user (Kuo-Lun, 2017).
3. Operationalization of Variables:
3.1 Independent Variables:
Locus of control
Locus of control
refers to Individuals with an internal locus of control believe in the power of
their own decisions and behaviors to impact life events and determine their own
future. Those with an external locus of control, on the other hand, view life events
as dictated by environmental factors outside of one’s control, such as luck,
fate, or powerful others (Van Liew, 2013).
Social Interaction Anxiety
is the fear of interaction with other people that brings on self-consciousness,
feelings of being negatively judged and evaluated, and, as a result, leads to
avoidance. If a person usually
becomes (irrationally) anxious in social situations, but seems better when they
are alone, then “social anxiety” may be the problem. High levels of anxiety and fear cause
avoidance, even of activities people want to engage in (Goldin et
internet usage emerged as a coping strategy exhibiting withdrawal symptoms when
not using the internet. Individuals who reported a high level of compulsive use
are at a high risk of suffering from isolation, depression and anxiety (BPS, 2014).
defines as the negative psychological link between people and the introduction
of new technologies (Li, 2015).
Furthermore, Arnetz & Wikholm described techno stress as the state of
mental and physiological arousal observed in persons who are heavily dependent
on computers in their work (Arnetz & Wiholm, 1997).
adopts the psychological characteristics to investigate the compulsive use of
smartphone, and to examine the relationship between such behavior and
technostress. There are two independent variables (locus of control and social
interaction anxiety) and two dependent variables (compulsive behavior and
technostress) involve in this study as presented in Figure.
Locus of control
characteristics including locus of control and social interaction anxiety is
selected to investigate the influence of these on compulsive smartphone usage
and technostress. Therefore, it is conceivable that high social interaction
anxiety and external locus of control can serve as new predictors of compulsive
smartphone usage and technostress.
Individuals with an
external locus of control believe that events are not within their control but
in the hands of some external force. Therefore, we expect that individuals with
an external locus of control are more likely to experience compulsive usage of
smartphones and technostress than their counterparts with an internal locus of
control. Meanwhile, those factors could agree with the study by (Lee et al.
2014) in the research stated that because of their passive tendencies and
reduced powers of self-control, individuals with an external locus of control
are more likely to use their smartphones compulsively.
Because social anxiety is
lower when interacting online than when interacting in real life, interacting
online rather than face-to-face has proven to be a useful alternative,
ful?lling the need to interact in a less direct way. Therefore, it is plausible
that people with high social interaction anxiety are more disposed to depend on
their smartphones and experience compulsive usage of smartphones and
technostress than those with low social interaction anxiety.
So, the people with an
external locus of control and a higher level of social interaction anxiety are
prone to use smartphone more frequently when feeling depressed, which might
bring about technostress and compulsive use of smartphone.
Based on the
research background, this study addresses the following research questions:
characteristics influence compulsive smartphone usage and technostress?
Do external locus of
control (LOC) affect the compulsive smartphone usage and technostress?
Does a higher level social interaction
anxiety (SIA) affect the compulsive smartphone usage and technostress?
following, hypotheses regarding in?uences of each psychological characteristic are
Smartphone users with an external locus of control demonstrate more compulsive smartphone usage and technostress.
Smartphone users with a higher
level of social interaction anxiety demonstrate
more compulsive behavior and technostress.
Method and Design:
Since this study
is positivist, as it holds a deterministic philosophy in which causes determine
effects or outcomes. It is a quantitative research; so deductive approach has
been selected for this research. The respondents consist of students of Institute
of Administrative Sciences, Lahore. In this research, survey method will be
used as it provides quantitative and numeric description of trends, attitudes
or opinion of a population by studying a sample of that population.
Collection and Analysis:
The survey will
be applied as a data collection strategy and questionnaire is developed as an
instrument for conducting the survey. This research specifically targets the
users of smartphone. A total of 150 questionnaires will be distributed to both
males and females. Data analysis will be done through quantitative methods,
which this study will analyze the data collected using the system of
Statistical Product and Service Solutions (SPSS) and then examine the
relationship of the variable tested to confirm or reject the hypothesis. From
the results of data analysis and interpretation, deductions will finally made.
of the study:
This study is of
great importance as it draws attention to technostress, provides a general view
of compulsive behavior and places emphasis on psychological characteristics.
The outcome of this paper will provide information which beneficial to the
related researchers and practitioners. Besides, the study will also help the
students to get better understanding regarding smartphone usage and
technostress. It will also contribute in terms of allowing us to understand the
effects of psychological characteristics towards compulsive smartphone and
This study is subject
to certain limitations. First, this research framework integrated two
psychological characteristics to investigate compulsive use and technostress.
Other psychological traits or variables, such as materialism, need for touch, technology
self-efficacy, still need to be investigated. Second, users’ psychological
characteristics are not easy to be retrieved. Finally, the subjects are students
of Institute of Administrative Sciences, Lahore. A sample taken from universities
and cities with a different culture and lifestyle might show different results.
In each of the
stage taken in this study, ethical issues will remain the main consideration,
especially with the access to information as well as during the data collection
and finding analysis. To ensure the survey being conducted is ethical, the
participant must accept consent forms. A consent form is the first page
participants will see when accessing the link to the survey. To be able to
access the survey they must read the consent form. By accepting the consent
forms, the participants acknowledge:
The objective of this
What their answers to the
survey will be used for.
That they can withdraw from
the study completely and their answers will not be used.
Names will not
be asked for in the survey to keep participants anonymous. Privacy will be maintained
by keeping the results confidential and using the data collected only for this
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