Self-Resources, Psychological Threat Management, and Information Avoidance

Author/s: Jennifer L Howell, PhD
Availability: Open Access
Type: Thesis
Year: 2015

Abstract: Seven studies examined whether people are more likely to avoid learning potentially threatening information when they lack the resources necessary to manage the threat. Studies 1 through 3 demonstrated that individual differences in personal (i.e., coping) and interpersonal (i.e., social support) resources predicted health information avoidance. Studies 4 through 7 examined whether manipulating the tradeoff between the resources available and the resources required to manage threat influenced avoidance. Study 4 provided no evidence that influencing people's perceptions of their own resources influenced avoidance. Study 5 demonstrated that people were more likely to avoid information after being socially excluded. Study 6 demonstrated that people were less likely to avoid information when they focused on their personal values (i.e., they were affirmed). Finally, in Study 7 affirmation eliminated the effect of exclusion on avoidance. Together these studies provide initial support for the role of personal and interpersonal resources in information avoidance.

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