Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) Toward ICT Use During Public Health Emergencies: An Investigation on Predictors and Outcomes

Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) Toward ICT Use During Public Health Emergencies: An Investigation on Predictors and Outcomes

Xiaokang Song (School of Management and Engineering, Nanjing University, China), Shijie Song (School of Information Management, Nanjing University, China), Yuxiang (Chris) Zhao (School of Economics and Management, Nanjing University of Science and Technology, China), Hua Min (Department of Health Administration and Policy, George Mason University, USA) and Qinghua Zhu (School of Information Management, Nanjing University, China)
Copyright: © 2021 |Pages: 16
DOI: 10.4018/JDM.2021040102
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Abstract

COVID-19 has brought a great impact on people's lives around the world. This paper aims to study the influencing factors of people's fear of missing out (FOMO) toward personal ICT use and its further impact on life satisfaction during the pandemic. A sample consisting of 318 participants was obtained by an online survey in China. Partial least squares structural equation modeling (PLS-SEM) was used for data analysis. The results suggested that people's anxiety and boredom brought by the pandemic are positively correlated with their FOMO. People with higher FOMO used personal ICTs more frequently for both social and process purposes. Furthermore, the social use of ICTs promoted people's life satisfaction, while the process use of ICTs had no significant effect on life satisfaction. Several theoretical and practical implications were discussed based on the results.
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Background

Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) Toward ICT Use

FOMO is a notable emerging phenomenon with the development of information and communication technologies and has attracted much research attention in recent years. FOMO is conceived as a subjective perception that people compulsively worry that they may miss social interaction with friends and important information, both offline and online (Alt & Bonielnissim, 2018). Previous studies suggested that FOMO is associated with negative psychological factors such as anxiety (Dempsey et al., 2019; Dhir et al., 2018), depression (Baker et al., 2016; Elhai et al., 2016), boredom proneness (Elhai et al., 2018), and low self-esteem (Buglass et al., 2017).

Perceived FOMO motivates people to frequently use personal ICTs to meet their information needs (Buglass et al., 2017; Elhai et al., 2018; Przybylski et al., 2013). People with high FOMO can hardly reject of receiving information, even when they perceived the information overload (Hanlon, 2016). Roberts and David (2020) borrowed information foraging theory to explain the relationship between FOMO and social media use. Like animal foraging, human beings have intrinsic motivations to seek information through various channels, especially the use of ICTs (Khapre & Basha, 2012). FOMO is considered to be related to social attachment, which motivates people to use or check social media frequently (Przybylski et al., 2013, Song et al., 2017). In addition to FOMO of social contact, people also have the feeling of fearing lose when they absent from non-social activities, such as news, business information and scientific knowledge (Alt, 2015; Elhai et al., 2020a; Hanlon, 2016).

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