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Julio-agosto de 2022, vol. 31, núm. 4
Media psychology


Mobile instant messaging techno-stressors: Measurement, dimensionality, and relationships with type of usage

Alberto Ardèvol-Abreu; Carmen Rodríguez-Wangüemert; Patricia Delponti

This article is available in open access

Abstract: Increasingly popular mobile instant messaging (MIM) apps allow users to interact anytime and anywhere with different purposes, such as coordinating work-related issues, staying in touch with people they love, or passing the time. But recent research suggests that MIM may create excessive demands on people and become a source of technostress. For example, users may experience communication overload, invasion of their face-to-face activities, pressure to respond to messages with urgency, or ambiguity regarding the intention or tone of their interactions. Building on these ideas, we develop a specific, multidimensional measure of MIM technostress and explore how it relates to different uses. To do so, we use survey data from a diverse sample of 1,259 residents in Spain. Exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses conducted on different halves of the sample supported a four-dimensional, second-level construct of MIM stress. Furthermore, structural equation model results suggest that not all uses are equally associated with MIM stress. Relatedness and intimacy uses were not positively related to MIM stress or any of its dimensions. Conversely, work uses, coordination of social activity, and even passing the time were positively associated with all techno-stressors. We discuss our findings with an eye toward promoting healthy use of MIM apps.

Keywords: Mobile instant messaging; Mobile instant messaging uses; Technostress; Techno-stressor; Overload; Invasion; Urgency; Ambiguity; Measurement; Scale.