Date of Award

Spring 2022

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Information Systems (PhDIS)


Business and Information Systems

First Advisor

Omar El-Gayar

Second Advisor

Jun Liu

Third Advisor

Insu Park

Fourth Advisor

renae Spohn


mHealth technologies seek to improve personal wellness; however, there are still
significant privacy and security challenges. With social networking sites serving as lens through which public sentiments and perspectives can be easily accessed, little has been done to investigate the privacy and security concerns of users, associated with mHealth technologies, through social media mining. Therefore, this study investigated various privacy and security concerns conveyed by social media users, in relation to the use of mHealth wearable technologies, using text mining and grounded theory. In addition, the study examined the general sentiments toward mHealth privacy and security related issues, while unearthing how the various issues have evolved over time. Our target social media platform for data collection was the microblogging platform Twitter, which was accessed through Brandwatch providing access to the “Twitter firehose” to extract English tweets. Triangulation was conducted on a representative sample to confirm the results of the Latent Dirichlet Allocation (LDA) Topic Modeling using manual coding through ATLAS.ti.

By using the grounded theory analysis methodology, we developed the D-MIT Emergent Theoretical Model which explains that the concerns of users can be categorized as relating to data management, data invasion, or technical safety issues. This model claims that issues affecting data management of mHealth users through the misuse of their data by entities such as wearable companies and other third-party applications, negatively impact their adoption of these devices. Also, concerns of data invasion via real-time data, security breaches, and data surveillance inhibit the adoption of mHealth wearables, which is further impacted by technical safety issues. Further, when users perceived that they do not have full control over their wearables or patient applications, then their acceptance of these mHealth technologies is diminished. While a lack of data and privacy protection policies contribute negatively to users’ adoption of these devices, it also plays a pivotal role in the data management issues presented in this emergent model. Therefore, the importance of having robust legal and policy frameworks that can support mHealth users is desired. Theoretically, the results support the literature on user acceptance of mHealth wearables. These findings were compared with extant literature, and confirmations found across several studies.

Further, the results show that over time, mHealth users are still concerned about areas such as security breaches, real-time data invasion, surveillance, and how companies use the data collected from these devices. The findings reveal that more than 75% of the posts analyzed were categorized as depicting anger, fear, or demonstrating levels of disgust. Additionally, 70% of the posts exhibited negative sentiments, whereas 26% were positive, which indicates that users are ambivalent concerning privacy and security, notwithstanding mentions of privacy or security issues in their posts.