Threats to autonomy: motivational responses to risk information
Article first published online: 25 NOV 2007
Copyright © 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
European Journal of Social Psychology
Volume 38, Issue 5, pages 852–865, August 2008
How to Cite
Pavey, L. J. and Sparks, P. (2008), Threats to autonomy: motivational responses to risk information. Eur. J. Soc. Psychol., 38: 852–865. doi: 10.1002/ejsp.477
- Issue published online: 18 JUL 2008
- Article first published online: 25 NOV 2007
- Manuscript Accepted: 5 OCT 2007
- Manuscript Received: 12 FEB 2007
Two studies considered the role of autonomy in people's motivational response to health-risk information. In Study 1, ‘non-smoker’ participants (N = 59) completed a measure of autonomy and read either health-risk information about smoking or neutral information. Those who read the health-risk information reported less autonomous motivation for not smoking than did those who read the neutral information. However, level of autonomy moderated this effect: lower autonomy participants reported less autonomous motivation after reading the health-risk information than after reading the neutral information but there was no such effect for higher autonomy participants. Study 2 (N = 100) supported the results of Study 1 using a sample of smokers, with a significant interaction between autonomy and health-risk condition predicting autonomous motivation. Higher autonomy participants reported greater autonomous motivation to quit smoking after reading health-risk information than after reading neutral information. There was no effect of condition for lower autonomy participants. Autonomous and controlled motivation was also considered in relation to the antecedents of intention outlined in the TPB. The findings are discussed in relation to the differential motivational impact of risk information on people with higher or lower autonomy. Copyright © 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.