UC Santa Barbara
The Elusive, But Essential Juggling Act: Iterative Processes of Validation in Developing the Theory of Media Multitasking Intensity
- Author(s): Zamanzadeh, Nicole Neda
- Advisor(s): Rice, Ronald E
- Afifi, Tamara D
- et al.
The purpose of the current dissertation was multi-faceted: 1) propose the value of an iterative process of measure validation for theoretical advances, 2) iteratively develop and evaluate validity of the Media Multitasking Intensity Questionnaire (MMTIQ), and 3) propose and examine a theory of media multitasking intensity.
The current dissertation proposes a relationship between current measure development and validation practices, inconsistent empirical evidence, and stalled theoretical development. The inability to replicate seminal empirical findings and thus evidence theoretical validity has led the social sciences to begin to re-examine norms for empirical research. Of the various solutions that have been proposed, the role of measurement and validation has been unexamined and underestimated. Validation is often limited to a single-effort or justified via citation and significant findings, leaving various potential threats to the security (i.e., evidenced confidence) of validity claims. Iterative validation efforts would allow for issues with the definition and measurement can be identified, examined, and adjusted based on evidence. Thus, all research can be considered a form of measure validation effort. This iterative process of validation is exemplified via the development and validation of an experience sampling measure of media multitasking intensity called the Media Multitasking Intensity Questionnaire (MMTIQ). Five studies provided evidence to evaluate the security (i.e., confidence of claims) of conceptual validity, interpretational or useful validity, criterion validity, generalizable validity across context and populations or measurement invariance, and response process validity.
Finally, the current dissertation involves a theory of media multitasking intensity. This theory of media multitasking intensity was investigated by examining parent-adolescent executive functioning, self-regulation, media multitasking intensity, and stress. Media multitasking was redefined as the perception of the co-occurrence of or interference between two or more tasks, when at least one of these tasks’ stimuli is a form of mediated information (i.e., media). Media multitasking intensity refers to four dimensions of media multitasking that vary the intensity or demand of resource allocation: task co-occurrence or interference, task difficulty, task intentionality, and task relevancy. In a one-week longitudinal intensive study of 324 parent-adolescent dyads’ media multitasking intensity, the current dissertation found that parents engage in higher media multitasking intensity than adolescents. Increased media multitasking intensity was associated with greater general stress at the end of the week and lower executive functioning and self-regulation capacities. Yet, adolescents with diminished self-regulation engaged in less media multitasking and more intentionally irrelevant media use in comparison to parents, which may be indicative of procrastination. These findings demonstrate the nuance that media multitasking intensity can observe, and illustrate that the nuances of media multitasking warrants further research especially upon the dimensions of intentionality and relevance.