A study of active usage of mobile instant messaging application : An attachment theory perspective

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

19 Scopus Citations
View graph of relations


Related Research Unit(s)


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)153-168
Journal / PublicationInformation Development
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2017


This paper studies the antecedents of active usage of mobile instant messaging (MIM) applications based on an attachment theory perspective. It proposes MIM identification; self-congruence, design aesthetics, interactivity, mobility and feedback can be the factors that influence active usage of MIM from a user-device attachment perspective. It also explores two working mechanisms of these factors: emotional attachment and functional dependence. By using a survey method, 294 valid responses were collected from Chinese active smartphone users and were analyzed using structural equation modelling. The results of the analysis indicate that MIM identification, self-congruence and design aesthetics influence emotional attachment significantly, and mobility and design aesthetics influence functional dependence significantly. Besides, interactivity and feedback do not have any significant impact on functional dependence. Implications for theory and practice are discussed.

Research Area(s)

  • attachment theory, China, information technology adoption, mobile instant messaging, usage