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Technology Threat Avoidance Theory (TTAT)

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== Concise description of theory ==
Technology Threat Avoidance Theory (TTAT) explains why and how individual IT users are engaged engage in threat avoidance behavior in voluntary settingbehaviors. Against Unlike most studies that have examined IT security at the organizational level, TTAT provides a framework at the individual user level. The theory has been developed by Liang and Xue<ref name=":0"><small>Liang, H., & Xue, Y. (2009, March). Avoidance of Information Technology Threats: A Theoretical Perspective. ''MIS Quarterly, 33''(1), 71-90.</small></ref> by synthesizing the literature from diverse areas including psychology, health care, risk analysis, and information systems. The basic premise of TTAT is that when users perceive that an IT threat exists, they will be motivated to ''actively'' avoid an IT threat by taking a safeguarding measure if they believe that the threat can be avoidable avoided by following the safeguarding measure, or they will passively avoid the threat through emotion-focused coping if they perceive the threat not to be avoidable by any safeguarding measure available to them<ref name=":0" />.
TTAT describes the processes and factors influencing individual users’ IT threat avoidance behavior. Drawing on cybernetic theory<ref><small>Carver, C. S., & Scheier, M. F. (1982). Control Theory: A Useful Conceptual Framework for Personality-Social, Clinical, and Health Psychology. ''Psychological Bulletin, 92''(1), 111-135.</small></ref><ref><small>Edwards, J. (1992). A Cybernetic Theory of Stress, Coping, and Weil-Being in Organizations. ''Academy of Management Review, 17''(2), 238-274.</small></ref>, TTAT posits that IT threat avoidance behavior can be represented by a cybernetic process in which users intend to enlarge the distance between their current security state and the undesired (unsafe) end state. With the help of coping theory<ref><small>Lazarus, R. (1966). ''Psychological Stress and the Coping Process.'' New York: McGraw-Hill.</small></ref><ref><small>Lazarus, R., & Folkman, S. (1984). ''Stress, Coping, and Adaptation.'' New York: Springer-Verlag.</small></ref>, TTAT submits that users experience two cognitive processes, threat appraisal and coping appraisal.  First, users appraise or assess the situation whether the IT threat exists and to what degree it exists. Then they decide what action they will take to avoid it—problem-focused coping and/or emotion-focused coping. TTAT identifies some key factors that explain user perception and motivation in this process. Integrating the literature of risk analysis<ref><small>Baskerville, R. (1991a). "Risk Analysis: An Interpretive Feasibility Tool in Justifying Information Systems Security". ''European Journal of Information Systems, 1''(2), 121-130.</small></ref><ref><small>Baskerville, R. (1991b). "Risk Analysis as a Source of Professional Knowledge". ''Computer & Security, 10''(8), 749-764.</small></ref> and health psychology<ref name=":1"><small>Janz, N. K., & Becker, M. H. (1984). The Health Belief Model: A Decade Later. ''Health Education Quarterly, 11''(1), 1-45.</small></ref><ref><small>Rogers, R. W. (1983). Cognitive and Physiological Process in Fear Appeals and Attitude Change: A Revised Theory of Protection Motivation. In R. Petty, ''Social Psychophysiology: A Source Book'' (pp. 153-176). New York: Guilford Press.</small></ref><ref><small>Weinstein, N. D. (2000). Perceived Probability, Perceived Severity, and Health-Protective Behavior. ''Health Psychology, 19''(1), 65-74.</small></ref>, TTAT suggests that users’ threat perception is determined by the perceived probability of the threat's occurrence and the perceived severity of the threat's negative consequences. Based on prior research on health protective behavior<ref name=":1" /><ref><small>Maddus, J. E., & Rogers, R. W. (1983). Protection Motivation and Self-Efficacy : A Revised Theory of Fear Appeals and Attitude Change. ''Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 19'', 469-479.</small></ref> and self-efficacy<ref><small>Bandura, A. (1982). Self-Efficacy Mechanism in Human Agency. ''American Psychologist, 37'', 122-147.</small></ref><ref><small>Compeau, D. R., & Higgins, C. A. (1995). Computer Self-Efficacy: Development of A Measure and Initial Test. ''MIS Quarterly, 19''(2), 189-211.</small></ref>, TTAT proposes that users conceive three factors to assess to what extent the threat can be made avoidable by taking a safeguarding measure—the effectiveness of the safeguarding measure, the costs of the measure, and users' self-efficacy of applying the measure.
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