Knight, C., Tobin, S. & Hornsey, M. (2014). From fighting the system to embracing it : Control loss promotes system justification among those high in psychological reactance. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology,54 139-146. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jesp.2014.04.012
One way to restore a sense of control is to system justify. Individuals high in trait reactance are particularly motivated to regain a sense of control in the face of freedom loss. But will high-reactance individuals system justify to restore control, given that they typically oppose authority? Based on the Compensatory Control Model (CCM), we propose that high-reactance individuals' motivation to compensate for control loss will, at times, overcome this aversion to authority and lead to increased system justification. In Study 1, high-reactance American participants were shown to hold stronger oppositional attitudes toward government authority (i.e., they showed reduced system justification). In Studies 2–4, only high-reactance participants increased their support of government when personal control was reduced. Thus, for high-reactance individuals, the need for control compensation overpowers the need to hold anti-authority attitudes. Outcomes support a CCM account of control compensation for those high (not low) in trait reactance.
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