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The Effect of Culture, Self-Control, Personality and Gender on Acceptance and Rejection of Online Peer Support Groups as a Digital Wellbeing Tool
Digital media usage can be problematic exhibiting symptoms of behavioural addiction such as mood modification, tolerance, conflict, salience, withdrawal symptoms and relapse. Google Digital Wellbeing and Apple Screen Time are examples of an emerging family of tools to help people have a healthier and more conscious relationship with technology. Peer support groups is a known technique for behaviour change and relapse prevention. It can be facilitated online, especially with advanced social networking techniques. Elements of peer support groups are being already embedded in digital wellbeing tools, e.g. peer comparisons, peer commitments, collective usage limit-setting and family time. However, there is a lack of research about the factors influencing people acceptance and rejection of online peer support groups to enhance digital wellbeing. Previous work has qualitatively explored the acceptance and rejection factors to join and participate in such groups. In this paper, we quantitatively study the effect of culture, personality, self-control, gender, willingness to join the groups and perception of their usefulness, on such acceptance and rejection factors. The qualitative phase included two focus groups and 16 interviews while the quantitative phase consisted of a survey (215 participants). Our findings revealed few influences concerning the acceptance factors and a considerable number of influences concerning the rejection factors. This highlights the need to design and, also, introduce such technique in a contextualised and personalised style to avoid rejection and reactance as well as situations where people join and behave due to conformity while intrinsic motivation and genuine nature of the participants are limited.