Adverse consequences of emotional support seeking through social network sites in coping with stress from a global pandemic.
Islam AKMN, Mäntymäki M, Laato S, Turel O.
International journal of information management. 2022; 62(): 102431

Abstract

This study explores how using social networking sites (SNSs) to cope with stressors induced by a global pandemic (in this case, COVID-19) can have negative consequences. The pandemic has imposed particular stressors on individuals, such as the threats of contracting the virus and of unemployment. Owing to the lockdowns and confinements implemented to limit the spread of the pandemic, SNS use has surged worldwide. Drawing on Lazarus and Folkman's theory of stress and coping, we consider COVID-19 obsession to be an adverse emotional response to the stressors brought about by the pandemic and emotional support seeking through SNS as a coping strategy. Furthermore, we identify SNS exhaustion as an adverse outcome of this form of coping. Finally, we analyze the intention to reduce SNS use as a corrective behavioral outcome to mitigate the negative effect of SNS-mediated coping. The findings indicate that: 1) the threat of the COVID-19 disease and the threat of unemployment drive COVID-19 obsession; 2) COVID-19 obsession contributes to emotional support seeking through SNS; 3) emotional support seeking through SNS exerts a positive effect on SNS exhaustion; 4) SNS exhaustion contributes to the intention to reduce SNS use. Our results advance Information Systems (IS) research by focusing on the use of Information Technology (IT) to cope with stressors that are essentially not IT-related; such research is largely absent from previous literature. Furthermore, our paper contributes to the increasing amount of literature on IT-mediated coping with stressors and reduced social media use. CI - (c) 2021 The Authors.



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