Using protection motivation theory in the design of nudges to improve online security behavior

René Van Bavel, Nuria Rodríguez-Priego, José Vila, Pam Briggs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)
12 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

We conducted an online experiment (n=2,024) on a representative sample of internet users in Germany, Sweden, Poland, Spain and the UK to explore the effect of notifications on security behaviour. Inspired by protection motivation theory (PMT), a coping message advised participants on how to minimize their exposure to risk and a threat appeal highlighted the potential negative consequences of not doing so. Both increased secure behavior – but the coping message significantly more so. The coping message was also as effective as both messages combined, but not so the threat appeal. Risk attitudes, age and country had a significant effect on behavior. Initiatives seeking to promote secure behavior should focus more on coping messages, either alone or in combination with fear appeals.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)29-39
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Human-Computer Studies
Volume123
Early online date3 Nov 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2019

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