Digging deeper into the reasons for self-control failure: Both intrinsic and extrinsic motivations to use mobile communication shape self-control processes


Halfmann, Annabell



DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/15205436.2021.1968437
URL: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/15205...
Document Type: Article
Year of publication Online: 2021
Date: 2021
The title of a journal, publication series: Mass Communication and Society
Volume: tba
Issue number: tba
Page range: 1-24
Place of publication: New York, NY
Publishing house: Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group
ISSN: 1520-5436 , 1532-7825
Publication language: English
Institution: School of Humanities > Medien IV (Vorderer)
Subject: 150 Psychology
Abstract: Individuals often fail to exercise self-control over their mobile communication use. For instance, they use mobile messengers although they are working on an important task. The reasons for this behavior are not entirely clear. Based on the assumptions made in self-determination theory and self-control theory, this research distinguishes for the first time systematically between intrinsic and extrinsic influences on the automatic and conscious processes that can lead to self-control failure. Results of a preregistered diary study support this distinction by showing that the frustration of the need for relatedness (i.e., intrinsic motivation) and availability pressure (i.e., extrinsic motivation) were associated with automatic messenger use and influenced anticipated guilt, which in turn predicted self-control failure. This research takes into account that users not only anticipate feelings of guilt when they give in to temptation but also when they resist the temptation to use mobile communication. Results revealed that availability pressure was strongly related to the latter. The findings are discussed in light of the importance of the distinction between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation for intervention strategies and our theoretical understanding of the self-regulation of mobile media use and its consequences for the well-being of users.

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