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ICT-based communication events as triggers of stress: a mixed methods study

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ICT-based communication brings more flexibility to our lives but likewise can be a source of stress. In this paper, we argue that stress due to ICT-based communication is triggered not only by stable material properties of ICTs but also by characteristics of the usage situation itself. To explore the stress-inducing characteristics of ICT-based communication events, we opt for a developmental mixed methods approach. A qualitative study with 59 participants is used to identify ICT-based communication event stressors. Based on the transactional theory of stress and coping and the qualitative data, we develop hypotheses on how these stressors affect momentary stress levels and cumulate over the course of a day to affect end-of-day stress levels. An ongoing quantitative experience sampling study will be used to test the proposed hypotheses. By adopting an event-based perspective, this paper could help to understand variations of stress due to ICT-based communication across different events.