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Psychological Reactance and Persuasive Health Communication: A Test and Extension of the Intertwined Model


  • Dr. Steven Wilson served as editor for this manuscript.

Stephen A. Rains; e-mail:


This manuscript reports 2 experiments that were conducted to test and extend the work of J. P. Dillard and L. Shen (2005) examining the cognitive and affective processes involved in psychological reactance. In particular, the studies reported here (a) examined the best-fitting model of reactance processes and (b) tested 3 factors that may affect reactance including argument quality, severity of the consequences associated with the message topic, and magnitude of the request made in the message. The results showed that the intertwined cognitive–affective model was the best-fitting model of reactance processes. Magnitude of the request was the only variable that affected reactance. The implications of these findings for research on reactance and persuasive health campaigns are discussed.