Dual mechanisms of reinforcement reward and habit in driving smartphone addiction : The role of smartphone features

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

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1551-1570
Journal / PublicationInternet Research
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2 Dec 2019


Purpose: In the limited existing research on smartphone addiction, reinforcement reward and automatic habit have been identified as two distinct underlying mechanisms. The purpose of this paper is to better understand the interaction between these two mechanisms, as well as role of smartphone features in activating different formation mechanisms. 
Design/methodology/approach: An online survey with 379 samples was conducted to empirically validate the model. The data were analyzed by structural equation modeling approach. 
Findings: The automatic habit strengthens the driving effects of reinforcement rewards (i.e. perceived enjoyment and mood regulation) on smartphone addiction. Smartphone features activate distinct underlying mechanisms. Value-added function facilitates the perception of reinforcement rewards, while convenience promotes the habit formation. 
Originality/value: This study is one of the first ones that assess the interplay between the two formation mechanisms in the extant literature on smartphone addiction. This study also reveals the dangers of smartphone features which have always been regarded as advantages. The findings contribute to the current understandings of smartphone addiction.

Research Area(s)

  • Dual-process theory, Habit, Reinforcement reward, Smartphone addiction, Smartphone feature