Development of a Security Related Stress Scale

Cybersecurity is a subject often seen to be difficult by many end users. Existing research, set within a coping theory framework, has outlined how emotion influences cybersecurity behavior, with stress an important factor in security non-compliance.

Development of a Security Related Stress Scale

Though a small literature base exists in occupational settings, far less research has sought to understand how stress influences security behaviour outside of workplace settings, something which is likely due to the lack of appropriate measurement instruments in this area.

This research sought to develop a security-related stress scale, based on an existing occupational-based measure, designed to be used in non-workplace settings.

Factor analytic methods were used to refine adapted items before the survey was rolled out to a sample representative of the UK population (n=300+). The newly developed scale was validated through its use in predicting coping methods (as measured by the Brief COPE) of users.

The study succeeded in developing a security-related stress scale, with stress predicting emotion focussed, problem focussed and dysfunctional coping strategies appropriately. The instrument developed can be used in future research applying coping theory to understand security behaviours.

People: Lynne Coventry and Pam Briggs