This study extends psychological reactance theory by examining denial of a public health threat and resistance toward media sharing as two novel types of freedom restoration. Participants (N = 220) were randomly assigned to watch a video advocating COVID-19 guidelines and completed an online survey assessing corresponding perceptions and behavioral intentions. Results of structural equation modeling supported the two-step model of reactance: greater perceived freedom threat was related to greater reactance, which in turn was linked to lower intentions to comply with COVID-19 guidelines, lower intentions to share the video with one’s online social network, and greater denial of COVID-19 as a public health threat. Implications for psychological reactance theory and health campaign design are discussed.
McGuire, N. H., & Ball, H. (2022). Extending psychological reactance theory to include denial of threat and media sharing intentions as freedom restoration behavior. Communication Research Reports. https://doi.org/10.1080/08824096.2022.2058480
Taylor & Francis
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