Proscriptive Injunctions Can Elicit Greater Reactance and Lower Legitimacy Perceptions Than Prescriptive Injunctions

Pavey, Louisa, Churchill, Susan and Sparks, Paul (2021) Proscriptive Injunctions Can Elicit Greater Reactance and Lower Legitimacy Perceptions Than Prescriptive Injunctions. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin. ISSN 1552-7433

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Abstract

Based on previous research investigating proscriptive injunctions (requesting that one should not do something) versus prescriptive injunctions (requesting that one should do something), we propose that proscription leads to greater reactance than does prescription for a range of actions, and that this effect is associated with lower perceived legitimacy of the injunction. Across five experimental studies, our student and general population samples received proscriptions or prescriptions and reported their reactance. Proscription led to greater reactance than did prescription in all five studies. This effect was accentuated by an authoritative source (Study 2), was mediated by the perceived legitimacy of the request (Study 3 and Study 4), and was attenuated by a self-affirmation intervention (Study 5). We suggest that proscriptions are viewed as more obligatory than prescriptions, limit the scope of behavioral alternatives, restrict perceived autonomy, and elicit greater reactance. The findings have implications for the design of effective persuasive communications.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Pavey, L., Churchill, S., & Sparks, P. (2021). Proscriptive Injunctions Can Elicit Greater Reactance and Lower Legitimacy Perceptions Than Prescriptive Injunctions. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin. https://doi.org/10.1177/01461672211021310. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/) which permits non-commercial use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access pages (https://us.sagepub.com/en-us/nam/open-access-at-sage).
Uncontrolled Keywords: Social Psychology, Communication, persuasion/social influence, reactance, autonomy, message framing
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Divisions: Departments > Psychology and Counselling
SWORD Depositor: Publications Router Jisc
Depositing User: Publications Router Jisc
Date Deposited: 17 Jun 2021 12:37
Last Modified: 17 Jun 2021 12:37
URI: http://eprints.chi.ac.uk/id/eprint/5816

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