Introduction. The article contributes to research on information behaviour by elaborating existing knowledge about affective barriers to information seeking.
Method. Conceptual analysis of about 50 key studies examining the factors giving rise to affective barriers and their impact on information seeking. The conceptual framework draws of the ideas of appraisal theories. They suggest that affective barriers originate from negative emotions leading to expectations that accessing information sources and systems would involve the risk of unpleasant experiences.
Results. Three main types of affective barriers were identified: risk of being exposed to unwanted information, risk due to excessive psychological costs of information seeking, and risk of facing difficulties in using information systems. Emotions characteristic of all barrier types include anxiety, fear and frustration. Affective barriers have a negative impact on information seeking by blocking or delimiting it, or stopping information seeking prematurely.
Conclusion. Affective barriers are important contextual factors of information seeking. The picture of these factors can be elaborated further by reviewing them together with cognitive and temporal barriers in particular.
Keywords: Emotions; information barriers; information seeking
Paper is published in Information Research 21(4): Approaching the affective barriers to information seeking: the viewpoint of appraisal theory