The effects of technostress, intolerance of uncertainty, and ICT competence on learning burnout during COVID-19: a moderated mediation examination

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COVID-19, ICT competence, intolerance of uncertainty, learning burnout, remote learning, technostress


During global COVID-19 outbreak, universities in many countries were closed, and students experienced the exclusive online learning as never before. This study aimed to examine the mediating role of Intolerance of Uncertainty (IU) in the effects of university students’ technostress caused by remote learning on three dimensions of learning burnout, namely emotional exhaustion, cynicism, and academic inefficacy, and possible moderating role of gender, ICT competence, and course load in the indirect effects of university students’ technostress on their learning burnout mediated by IU. Altogether 801 Chinese students from 72 universities voluntarily participated in this study by filling out an online questionnaire consisting of Technostress Survey, Maslach Burnout Inventory-Student Survey, and Intolerance of Uncertainty Scale-12. The participants reported relatively low technostress, learning burnout with a moderate level of IU during online learning. Structural equation modelling showed that: 1) technostress positively predicted IU, emotional exhaustion, and academic inefficacy; 2) IU partially mediated the effects of technostress on emotional exhaustion, cynicism, and academic inefficacy. 3) ICT competence moderated the indirect effects of technostress on emotional exhaustion via IU while moderating effects of gender and course load were not found.