Effect of Psychological Distance on Intention in Self-Affirmation Theory

Myoungjin Shin, Yeonjin Kim, Seungha Park

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

In previous studies, self-affirmation has been shown to have no effect or have a negative impact on intention to change. We applied construal level theory to examine possible reasons for inconsistencies among findings in existing self-affirmation studies. In Study 1, when female college students in their 20s (N = 113) received health threat information with a psychologically proximal breast cancer message, it induced low-level construal and increased specific physical activity intention. In Study 2, when self-affirmed participants were exposed to health threat information with a psychologically distal Alzheimer’s disease message, there was no increase in specific physical activity intention. These results suggest that when a discrepancy exists between the psychological distance of health threat information and the intention reflecting the construal level, no change of intention occurs, even in self-affirmed individuals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2101-2124
Number of pages24
JournalPsychological Reports
Volume123
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2020

Keywords

  • construal level theory
  • health threat message
  • physical activity intention
  • psychological distance
  • Self-affirmation theory

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