Online Users’ Cynical Attitudes towards Privacy Protection : Examining Privacy Cynicism


Hanbyul Choi, Yoonhyuk Jung

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As the complexity of managing online personal information is increasing and data breach incidents frequently occur, online users feel a loss of control over their privacy. Such a situation leads to their cynical attitudes towards privacy protection, called privacy cynicism. This study aims to examine the role of privacy cynicism in online users’ privacy behaviors. Data were gathered from a survey that 281 people participated in and were analyzed with covariance-based structural equation modeling. The findings of this study reveal that privacy cynicism has not only a direct influence on disclosure intention but also moderates an effect of privacy concerns on the intention. The analytical results also indicate that there is a nonlinear effect of privacy cynicism on the outcome variable. This study developed the concept of privacy cynicism—a phenomenon that significantly affects online privacy behavior but has been rarely examined. The study is an initial research into the nature and implications of privacy cynicism and furthermore clarified its role by the nonlinear relationship between privacy cynicism and the willingness to disclose personal information.


Ⅰ. Introduction
Ⅱ. Theoretical Framework and Hypothesis Development
2.1. Individual Privacy Concerns
2.2. Privacy Cynicism
2.3. The Moderating Role of Privacy Cynicism towards Privacy Protection
Ⅲ. Methods
3.1. Participants
3.2. Measures
Ⅳ. Results
4.1. Confirmatory Factor Analysis
4.2. Path Analysis
4.3. Moderation Analysis
Ⅴ. Discussion
5.1. Key Findings
5.2. Theoretical Implications
5.3. Practical Implications
5.4. Limitations and Future Research


  • Hanbyul Choi Ph.D. Student, School of Business Administration, Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology, Korea
  • Yoonhyuk Jung Associate Professor, School of Media and Communication, Korea University, Korea


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