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Psychological and Health Outcomes of Perceived Information Overload

  • Author(s): Misra, S;
  • Stokols, D
  • et al.
Abstract

The rapid growth and transmission of information in the digital age poses new challenges for individuals coping with the onslaught of communications from multiple sources. This research (a) conceptualizes and measures perceived information overload from cyber-based and place-based sources, (b) tests the reliability and validity of a newly developed Perceived Information Overload Scale, and (c) tests hypotheses concerning the psychological and health outcomes of information overload. A repeated-measures panel study design was used to test the proposed hypotheses. Confirmatory factor analyses provided support for the hypothesized two-factor model of perceived information overload, encompassing cyber-based and place-based sources of stimulation. Hierarchical regression analyses indicated that higher levels of perceived cyber-based overload significantly predicted self-reports of greater stress, poorer health, and less time devoted to contemplative activities, controlling for age, gender, ethnicity, and baseline measures of stress and health status. Participants' sensation-seeking levels were found to significantly moderate the relationships between cyber-based, place-based, and composite perceived information overload and stress. Directions for further study are discussed. © 2012 SAGE Publications.

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