The Compromise of One’s Personal Information: Trait Affect as an Antecedent in Explaining the Behavior of Individuals

AbstractThis research examined the role trait affect, a lifelong and generally stable type of affect, has on the information security behavior of individuals. We examined this in the context of how one responds to the threat of one’s personal information becoming compromised. This was done by extending Protection Motivation Theory (PMT) by incorporating the two higher order dimensions of affect, positive affect and negative affect, as antecedents to self-efficacy, perceived threat severity, and perceived threat vulnerability. A survey was used to explore this further. Seven of the 11 hypotheses were supported, including three of the six related to affect. This research makes two primary contributions. First, trait affect may play an indirect role in understanding how individuals evaluate, respond to, and cope with a threat. Second, this research extended the application of PMT, which has been the primary theory used to understand the information security behavior of individuals.

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