How the comforting process fails: Psychological reactance to support messages

Xi Tian, Denise Haunani Solomon, Kellie St Cyr Brisini

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Abstract

This study extends the theory of psychological reactance to the context of social support by examining how supportive communication is associated with psychological reactance and subsequent support outcomes. The final sample included 325 married adults who had experienced a marital disagreement, and were asked to evaluate a hypothetical support message that varied in the level of person-centeredness provided by a social network member. The results indicated that perceptions of support messages as conveying dominance and having weak argument quality were positively associated with psychological reactance. Low person-centered messages corresponded with more dominance and weaker argument quality. Low person-centered messages were associated with more psychological reactance through an indirect effect conveyed by a perceived threat to freedom. There was a significant, indirect effect between person-centeredness and emotional improvement conveyed by a perceived threat to freedom and psychological reactance. The discussion highlights the role of psychological reactance in social support.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)13-24
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Communication
Volume70
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Communication
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'How the comforting process fails: Psychological reactance to support messages'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this