Technology Addictions and Technostress: An Examination of the U.S. and China

Technology Addictions and Technostress: An Examination of the U.S. and China

Stoney Brooks, Xuequn Wang, Christoph Schneider
Copyright: © 2020 |Pages: 19
DOI: 10.4018/JOEUC.2020040101
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In today's technology-centric world, people are becoming increasingly dependent on the Internet. The most common use of the Internet is through social media, which is used to communicate, share, collaborate, and connect. However, continued usage of a hedonic system can be linked with compulsion or addiction. Since problematic usage/behaviors can lead to negative outcomes, this study aims to determine differential effects of Internet and social media addictions on social media-related technostress. This is examined in two different cultures: The U.S. and China. The results support the association between the Internet and social media addictions with increases in social media-related technostress. Additionally, these effects are moderated by culture. Implications for research and practice are discussed along with future directions for this stream.
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1. Introduction

In today’s technology-centric world, people are becoming increasingly dependent on the internet for their jobs, their information needs, and their entertainment. By 2016, the United States had a broadband internet penetration of 73%, a number expected to increase even further (Pew Research Center, 2017a). Additionally, the overall trend is toward spending ever-increasing amounts of time on the internet. By 2013, it was estimated that the average U.S. internet user spent at least 2 hours per day using the internet (Laudon & Traver, 2014).

The usage of social media has become one of the most popular activities on the internet (, 2012). In 2016, 69% of online adults in the U.S. were social media users (Pew Research Center, 2017b). As of 2018, Facebook alone had over 2.23 billion monthly active users (Facebook, 2018). On average, 27% of time spent using the internet is with social media, more than for (non-social media) entertainment, email, and news combined (Tatham, 2013). Yet, despite (or because) of its widespread use, social media has given rise to various negative effects. In particular, social media has been associated with various ‘dark side’ phenomena, such as addictive behaviour (Kuss & Griffiths, 2011; Patterson, 2012), negative emotional states such as depression (e.g., Brooks & Longstreet, 2015), and reduced performance (Brooks, 2015). While past research has provided a foundation for understanding this phenomenon, it is not understood if the findings are globally generalizable or if the effects of social media use differ across cultures.

In this paper, we aim to examine differential effects of internet and social media addictions on social media-related technostress. Further, given the differences between cultures (Hofstede, 2001), we investigate the influence of culture in these relationships. To the best of our knowledge, no other study has investigated the links between internet and social media addiction to technostress using culture as a lens for examination. Drawing on the Cognitive-Behavioural Model of Pathological Internet Use (Davis, 2001) and focusing on the cultural dimension of individualism (Hofstede, 2001), we develop a model of internet and social media addiction and test the model using participants from the United States (a highly individualistic culture – Hofstede cultural score of 91) and China (a highly collectivistic culture – Hofstede cultural score of 20).

In the following, we will provide a brief overview of internet and social media addictions and technostress. Then, we will present the hypotheses that form our research model. Afterwards, we present the methodology and analysis before discussing the results, implications for theory and practice, and future directions for this stream of research.

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