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J Behav Med. 2017 Jun;40(3):520-529. doi: 10.1007/s10865-016-9821-z. Epub 2017 Jan 24.

A brief measure of reactance to health warnings.

Author information

1
Department of Health Behavior, Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC, USA. mghall@unc.edu.
2
Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC, USA. mghall@unc.edu.
3
Department of Psychology and Neuroscience, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC, USA.
4
Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC, USA.
5
School of Media and Journalism, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC, USA.
6
Department of Health Behavior, Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC, USA.

Abstract

Reactance to persuasive messages involves perceived threat to freedom, anger, and counterarguing that may undermine the impact of health warnings. To understand reactance's effects, reliable and valid assessment is critical. We sought to develop and validate a brief Reactance to Health Warnings Scale (RHWS). Two independent samples of US adults completed the brief RHWS in studies that presented warnings on cigarette packs that smokers carried with them for 4 weeks (Study 1; n = 2149) or as digital images of cigarette packs that participants viewed briefly (Study 2; n = 1413). The three-item Brief RHWS had good internal consistency and test-retest reliability. The scale correlated with higher trait reactance and exposure to pictorial warnings, supporting its convergent validity. With respect to predictive validity, the Brief RHWS predicted perceived message effectiveness, quit intentions, avoidance of the warnings, and number of cigarettes smoked per day. The Brief RHWS can serve as an efficient adjunct to the development of persuasive messages.

KEYWORDS:

Defensive processing; Health communication; Health warnings; Pictorial warnings; Reactance; Tobacco control

PMID:
28120228
PMCID:
PMC5458745
DOI:
10.1007/s10865-016-9821-z
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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