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Boosting the Potency of Resistance: Combining the Motivational Forces of Inoculation and Psychological Reactance


  • The first two authors share equal responsibility for this research.

Claude H. Miller; e-mail:


The efficacy of inoculation theory has been confirmed by decades of empirical research, yet optimizing its effectiveness remains a vibrant line of investigation. The present research turns to psychological reactance theory for a means of enhancing the core mechanisms of inoculation—threat and refutational preemption. Findings from a multisite study indicate reactance enhances key resistance outcomes, including: threat, anger at attack message source, negative cognitions, negative affect, anticipated threat to freedom, anticipated attack message source derogation, perceived threat to freedom, perceived attack message source derogation, and counterarguing. Most importantly, reactance-enhanced inoculations result in lesser attitude change—the ultimate measure of resistance.