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Exploring trust of mobile applications based on user behaviors: an empirical study


  • Author Notes

    Zheng Yan is a computer scientist with an interest in trust and security; she is a professor in XiDian University, China, and a docent in the Aalto University, Finland; she received her PhD in Electrical Engineering from Helsinki University of Technology. Yan Dong is a psychological researcher with an interest in academic emotions, mental health, and interpersonal trust; she is a lecturer in the Institute of Psychology, Renmin University of China; she received her PhD in psychology from Chinese Academy of Sciences. Valtteri Niemi is a professor in University of Turku, Finland, doing privacy and security research. He received PhD in Mathematics from University of Turku in 1989. Guoliang Yu is a psychologist with an interest in psychology of development and education, and personality and social development of adolescent; he is a professor in the Institute of Psychology, Renmin University of China; he received his PhD in Psychology from Beijing Normal University.

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Zheng Yan, The State Key Laboratory of ISN, Xidian University, Box 119, No. 2 South Taibai Road, 710071 Xi'an, China. E-mail:


This paper explores trust of mobile applications based on users' behaviors. It proposes a trust behavior construct through principal component analysis, reliability analysis, and confirmatory factor analysis based on the data collected from a questionnaire survey with more than 1,500 participants. It is indicated that a user's trust behavior is composed of three principal constructs: using behavior, reflection behavior, and correlation behavior. They are further delineated into 12 measurable sub-constructs and relate to a number of external factors. The data analysis showed that the questionnaire has positive psychometric properties with respect to construct validity and reliability. We also discuss the practical significance and limitations of our work toward usable trust management.