Taking advantage of multiple identities to reduce defensiveness to personally threatening health messages

Blondé, Jérôme, Easterbrook, Matthew J, Harris, Peter R, Girandola, Fabien and Khalafian, Achot (2022) Taking advantage of multiple identities to reduce defensiveness to personally threatening health messages. Applied Psychology: Health and Well-Being. ISSN 1758-0846

[img] PDF - Accepted Version
Restricted to SRO admin only until 9 March 2023.

Download (342kB)

Abstract

A host of studies have shown that self-relevant health messages may result in increased defensiveness and rejection of protective recommendations. Drawing on research showing that multiple identities offer psychological resources to deal with identity threats, we sought to examine whether the salience of an alternative identity before people are exposed to a personally relevant health message may buffer the threat and reduce defensive responses. Two studies were conducted on samples of daily smokers asked to read an antismoking message before completing a range of measures of defensiveness. Half of the participants had an alternative identity made salient beforehand (vs. no salience condition). Consistent with our hypotheses, Study 1 (N = 90) showed that this manipulation significantly reduced defensiveness to the message. Study 2 (N = 95) additionally showed that such effects only occurred when the alternative identity overlapped highly with the threatened identity. The theoretical implications of these findings are discussed.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Health messages, Identity salience, Defensiveness, Multiple identities, Smoking
Schools and Departments: School of Psychology > Psychology
SWORD Depositor: Mx Elements Account
Depositing User: Mx Elements Account
Date Deposited: 08 Mar 2022 07:46
Last Modified: 11 Apr 2022 15:15
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/104759

View download statistics for this item

📧 Request an update