Attentional and Behavioral Disengagement as Coping Responses to Technostress and Financial Stress: An Experiment Based on Psychophysiological, Perceptual, and Behavioral Data

Marion Korosec-Serfaty , René Riedl, Sylvain Sénécal, Pierre-Majorique Léger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Discontinuance of information systems (IS) is a common phenomenon. It is thus critical to understand the decision process and psychophysiological mechanisms that underlie the intention and corresponding behaviors to discontinue IS use, particularly within the digital financial technology usage context, where continuance rates remain low despite increased adoption. Discontinuance has been identified as one coping behavior to avoid stressful situations. However, research has not yet explored this phenomenon toward digital financial technologies. This manuscript builds upon a pilot study that investigated the combined influence of technostress and financial stress on users’ responses toward digital financial decision-making tasks and aims to disentangle the specific impacts of unexpected technology behaviors and perceived financial loss on attentional and behavioral disengagement as coping responses, which may lead to discontinuance from digital financial technology usage. A two-factor within-subject design was developed, where perceived techno-unreliability as variable system response time delays under time pressure and perceived financial loss as negative financial outcomes were manipulated in a 3 × 2 design. Psychophysiological, perceptual, and behavioral data were collected from N = 15 participants while performing an adapted version of the Iowa Gambling Task. The results indicate that unexpected technology behaviors have a far greater impact than perceived financial loss on (1) physiological arousal and emotional valence, demonstrated by decreased skin conductance levels and curvilinear emotional valence responses, (2) feedback processing and decision-making, corroborated by curvilinear negative heart rate (BPM) and positive heart rate variability (HRV) responses, decreased skin conductance level (SCL), increased perceptions of system unresponsiveness and techno-unreliability, and mental workload, (3) attentional disengagement supported by curvilinear HRV and decreased SCL, and (4) behavioral disengagement as coping response, represented by curvilinear decision time and increasingly poor financial decision quality. Overall, these results suggest a feedforward and feedback loop of cognitive and affective mechanisms toward attentional and behavioral disengagement, which may lead to a decision of disengagement-discontinuance as a coping outcome in stressful human-computer interaction situations.

Original languageEnglish
Article number883431
Pages (from-to)883431
JournalFrontiers in Neuroscience
Publication statusPublished - 12 Jul 2022


  • Iowa gambling task (IGT)
  • digital financial technology
  • discontinuance
  • disengagement
  • financial stress
  • system response time
  • techno-unreliability
  • technostress


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