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When reactance effects persist despite restoration of freedom: Investigations of time delay and vicarious control

Two experiments investigated the effects of vicarious control (Exp I) and time delay (Exp II) on psychological reactance in 96 15-17 yr old German secondary school students. Ss' freedom to choose 1 of 4 records as a present was threatened by the unavailability of 2 of the 4 choices. Changes in attractiveness were assessed as the dependent variable. Results indicate that changes in attractiveness induced by reactance were eliminated by a restoration of freedom only if the restoration occurred immediately following the threat. When restoration of freedom was delayed, changes in attractiveness were attenuated but were still significant, whether the restoration occurred by chance or was under Ss' vicarious control. A threat immediately followed by a restoration, however, may have been perceived as 1 event, and thus may not have been threatening. The absence of reactance effects after immediate restoration may have been due to a weak induction of reactance rather than to a reduction of reactance. The incomplete reduction of reactance effects found after delayed restoration calls into question earlier conclusions that reactance effects are eliminated by restoration of freedom. (French & German abstracts) (13 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2007 APA, all rights reserved)