Combining the coping theory and social support theory, this study aims to reveal users' coping strategies for mobile fitness app (MFA) engagement and fitness intentions with a rigorous and comprehensive hybrid research approach.
A three-stage hybrid research design was employed in this study. In the first stage, this study utilized structural equation modeling (SEM) to investigate the associations between coping resources and coping outcomes. A post hoc analysis was conducted in the second stage to unveil the reasons behind the insignificant or weak linkages. In the third stage, the fuzzy-set qualitative comparative analysis (fsQCA) technique was applied to explore the various configurations of coping resources that lead to the coping outcomes.
The results in the three stages verify and compensate each other. The SEM results confirm the presence of two coping strategies in MFA, highlighting the importance of the intertwining of the strategies, and the post hoc analysis unveils the mediating role of positive affect. Moreover, the fsQCA results reinforce and complement the SEM findings by revealing eight alternative configurations that are sufficient for leading to users' MFA engagement and fitness intention.
This study offers a prominent methodological paradigm by demonstrating the application of multi-analysis in exploring users' coping strategies. In addition, the study also advances the understanding of the complexity of the mechanism that determines users' behavioral decisions by presenting a comprehensive interpretation.
Funding: This work was supported by the China Postdoctoral Science Foundation (No. 2016M602838) and Natural Science Basic Research Program of Shaanxi (No. 2023-JC-QN-0794).
Xu, X., Tayyab, S.M.U., Jia, Q. and Wu, K. (2023), "The coping strategies in fitness apps: a three-stage analysis with findings from SEM and FsQCA", Internet Research, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/INTR-07-2022-0554
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