CCE Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


College of Computing and Engineering


Ling Wang

Committee Member

Martha Snyder

Committee Member

Junping Sun


computer security behavior, confidential data, fear appeals model, information security, protection motivation theory, telecommuters


Computer users’ security compliance behaviors can be better understood by devising an experimental study to examine how fear appeals might impact users’ security behavior. Telecommuter security behavior has become very relevant in information systems (IS) research with the growing number of individuals working from home. The increasing dependence on telecommuting to enhance the viability and convenience has created an urgency with the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic to examine the behavior of users working at home across a corporate network. The home networks are usually not as secure as those in corporate settings. There is seldom a firewall setting and lack of an up-to-date antivirus can make home computers more susceptible to attacks – especially when a user clicks on an attachment or malware. The goal of this study was to investigate how the home computer user’s behavior can be modified, especially among telecommuters who work with sensitive data.

The data collected using a web-based survey. A Likert scale was used on all survey items with a pre-analysis of the data preceding the data assessment. The Partial Least Square (PLS) was used to report the analysis of the data gathered from a total of 376 response. The study outcomes demonstrated that response efficacy, self-efficacy, and social influence positively influenced protection motivation. The perceived threat severity positively affected both response efficacy and self-efficacy, while the perceived threat susceptibility did not affect both response efficacy and self-efficacy.

The Fear Appeals Model (FAM) extension with computer security usage showed the positive significance of protection motivation on computer security usage. This study adds to the awareness and theoretical suggestions to the current literature. The results disclose the FAM capability to envisage user behavior established on threat and coping appraisals from home computer security usage. Furthermore, the study's FAM extension implies that telecommuters can take recommended responses to protect their computers from security threats. The outcome will help managers communicate effectively with their telecommuting employees to modify their security behavior and safeguard their data.