THE MODERATING EFFECTS OF CONSUMER LOYALTY ON THREAT TO FREEDOM OF CHOICE AND PSYCHOLOGICAL REACTANCE
Psychological reactance is triggered when there is a threat to a freedom of choice. The following study manipulated a situation to present both a high and a mild message threatening the participants' freedom of choice. In addition, the loyalty of the participant is thought to affect the amount of reactance felt from each threat level. I propose that a more threatening message given by an organization to a consumer can lead to stronger feelings of reactance. However, the consumers' level of loyalty will have an impact on the amount of reactance felt from the different messages. Utilizing a sample of 43 undergraduate psychology students, I found minimal support upholding my hypotheses. Specifically, the results indicated that those with high loyalty felt more reactance with the more threatening message and those with low loyalty felt more reactance in response to the mild message. The implications of the study and future directions are given at the end.