Measuring attitude towards personal data for adaptive cybersecurity

Joyce Hoese Addae, Michael Brown, Xu Sun, Dave Towey, Milena Radenkovic

Research output: Journal PublicationArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)
11 Downloads (Pure)


Purpose - This paper presents an initial development of a personal data attitude (PDA) measurement instrument based on established psychometric principles. The aim of the research was to develop a reliable measurement scale for quantifying and comparing attitudes towards personal data that can be incorporated into cybersecurity behavioural research models. Such a scale has become necessary for understanding individuals' attitudes towards specific sets of data, as more technologies are being designed to harvest, collate, share and analyse personal data. Design/methodology/approach - An initial set of 34 five-point Likert-style items were developed with eight subscales and administered to participants online. The data collected were subjected to exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses and MANOVA. The results are consistent with the multidimensionality of attitude theories and suggest that the adopted methodology for the study is appropriate for future research with a more representative sample. Findings - Factor analysis of 247 responses identified six constructs of individuals' attitude towards personal data: protective behaviour, privacy concerns, cost-benefit, awareness, responsibility and security. This paper illustrates how the PDA scale can be a useful guide for information security research and design by briefly discussing the factor structure of the PDA and related results. Originality/value - This study addresses a genuine gap in research by taking the first step towards establishing empirical evidence for dimensions underlying personal data attitudes. It also adds a significant benchmark to a growing body of literature on understanding and modelling computer users' security behaviours.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)560-579
Number of pages20
JournalInformation and Computer Security
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Attitude scale
  • Cybersecurity
  • Information disclosure
  • Information security modelling
  • Personal data
  • Privacy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Management Information Systems
  • Software
  • Information Systems
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Information Systems and Management
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


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