Cyber-victimization preventive behavior: A health belief model approach

Matias Dodel, Gustavo Mesch

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Cyber-victimization has extensive economic and personal consequences for Internet users as well as negative consequences for economies and the cyber infrastructure. This paper investigates the determinants of cyber-safety behaviors, particularly the factors associated with using anti-virus software in the general Internet user population, through a conceptual model about the determinants of non-digital preventive actions. We tested the Health Behavior Model, which considers perceptions about threats and expectations about behavior as the main determinants of health-related preventive behaviors, using a survey of Israeli Internet users 18 years old and older (N = 1850). Findings show that gender, age, education, seniority online and frequency of Internet use are basic determinants of anti-virus preventive behaviors. Nevertheless, similar to preventive health behaviors, beliefs about digital threats and actions to thwart them appear to account for more variance in anti-virus preventive behaviors than socio-demographic characteristics and Internet use. Our findings provide an innovative conceptual model and imply that the fight against cybercrime can take cues from health behavior studies demonstrating the role of perceptions and beliefs in reducing online threats. Furthermore, health behavior models are useful frameworks to conceptualize behavioral reactions to threats and to study cyber-safety.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)359-367
    Number of pages9
    JournalComputers in Human Behavior
    StatePublished - 1 Mar 2017

    Bibliographical note

    Publisher Copyright:
    © 2016 Elsevier Ltd


    • Cybercrime
    • Health belief model
    • Preventive behavior
    • Safety
    • Security
    • Victimization

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
    • Human-Computer Interaction
    • General Psychology


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