The Impact of Technology Threat Avoidance Theory Constructs on Cybersecurity Avoidance Behaviour
Authors: Hamed Alqahtani
Abstract: In the field of cybersecurity, human behaviour is considered as the weakest link. We applied gamification techniques to the development of an Augmented Reality game, CybAR, which was designed to educate users about cybersecurity in an effective and entertaining way. Technology Threat Avoidance Theory (TTAT) provided the theoretical model for understanding cybersecurity avoidance behaviour. Its constructs of perceived severity, perceived susceptibility, fear, safeguard effectiveness, self-efficacy and safeguard costs were considered as direct antecedents of cybersecurity avoidance motivation and indirect predictors of cybersecurity avoidance behaviour. The purpose of the research was to examine the role of these TTAT constructs in explaining individuals' cybersecurity avoidance behaviour. Structural equation modeling was used to analyse the relationships and test the hypotheses. A cross-sectional survey of 128 students at Macquarie University was conducted to assess the effect of the TTAT on motivation and behaviour. The results showed positive support for most of the proposed relationships, with the exception of safeguard cost on cybersecurity avoidance motivation as well as perceived susceptibility on fear construct of the threat, but safeguard cost factor positively contributed to students' cybersecurity avoidance behaviour. Coping appraisal variables (perceived effectiveness, self-efficacy) were the strongest predictors of cybersecurity avoidance behaviour, especially safeguard effectiveness. Threat severity was also a significant predictor of the fear factor.
Keywords: Human Factors, Cybersecurity, Avoidance Behaviour
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