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"Study into the Impact of Stress on Individuals' Information Behaviour." N. Wilson. I. Ruthven. Department of Computer and Information Sciences, University of Strathclyde. 2014. Download PDF (BibTeX) Msc Information and Library Studies

Within Library and Information Science (LIS), research into information behaviour has largely focussed on the cognitive and task-related elements within the academic or professional environments. Those studies that involve the affective component or those concerning the non-work/academic, i.e. leisure, environment receive less attention and research focus.
This study aims to explore the impact of stress on individuals' information behaviour, focussing on behaviours that appear to be particularly interesting or significant. The research also aims to investigate the motivation behind accessing information in a negative affective state and the emotional changes experienced by individuals when they do.
45 participants responded to a survey and then 6 respondents were interviewed during the course of this research. The findings reveal that stress has an impact on various elements of individuals' information behaviour, and that these changes in information behaviour are strongly interconnected. Most individuals considered accessing information in times of stress as a source of relaxation and escape from the daily grind of the everyday, essential to maintaining their relationships and emotional balance. Overall, the use of information when stressed was seen to be a tool to enable to user to achieve and maintain a sense of happiness or pleasure.