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Reactance, Restoration, and Cognitive Structure: Comparative Statics


Corresponding author: Elena Bessarabova; e-mail:


This study (N = 143) examined the effects of freedom threat on cognitive structures, using recycling as its topic. The results of a 2(Freedom Threat: low vs. high) × 2(Postscript: restoration vs. filler) plus 1(Control) experiment indicated that, relative to the control condition, high freedom threat created a boomerang effect for the targeted attitude (recycling) as the attitude and behavioral intention changed in the opposite direction to the one advocated in the message. For the associated but untargeted attitude (energy conservation), reactance effects were less pronounced. Furthermore, a restoration postscript was examined as a reactance mitigation strategy. The restoration postscript was effective for high- but not low-threat messages.