, Volume 78, Issue 2, pp 205-249
Date: 11 May 2006

Developing a Measure of Internet Well-Being: Nomological (Predictive) Validation

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Abstract

This paper reports on an effort to develop an Internet well-being measure for possible use by government agencies and industry associations that are directly involved with the promulgation of the Internet. Such measures can help officials gauge the social health of those Internet-related industries and institutional sectors, which in turn can guide the development of policies to enhance the quality-of-life impact of the Internet. The Internet well-being measure is based on the theoretical notion that the perception of the overall impact of the Internet on users of the Internet is determined by their perceptions of the impact of the Internet in their life domains such as consumer life, work life, leisure life, social life, community life, sensual life, among others. In turn, the perception of impact of the Internet in a given life domain (e.g., consumer life, work life) is determined by perceptions of benefits and costs of the Internet within that domain. We conducted a focus group to identify all the perceived benefits and costs within salient life domains of college students. We also conducted a thorough literature search to identify studies that examined the quality-of-life impact of the Internet in a variety of life domains. We then tested the nomological validity of the measure through two surveys at two major universities (one in the USA and the other in Korea). The statistical analysis allowed us to identify those measurement items that are most predictive, and therefore considered as nomologically valid. Policy implications of the study are discussed along with future research avenues.