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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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Record number 455744
Title Defensive reactions to health-promoting information: an overview and implications for future research
Author(s) Riet, J.P. van 't; Ruiter, R.A.C.
Source Health Psychology Review 7 (2013). - ISSN 1743-7199 - p. S104 - S136.
Department(s) LEI Consumer & behaviour
LEI Consument and Behaviour
Publication type Refereed Article in a scientific journal
Publication year 2013
Keyword(s) protection-motivation theory - hiv-prevention interventions - fear-arousing communications - cigarette warning labels - self-exempting beliefs - parallel process model - emotion regulation - experiential avoidance - mental-health - smoking-cessation
Abstract It is a common finding that recipients of threatening health-promoting information are motivated to dismiss or disregard the information, thus reacting defensively'. This article gives an overview of the literature on defensive reactions to health-promoting information. A distinction is made between: (1) avoidance, (2) denial, (3) cognitive reappraisal and (4) suppression. Although these defensive reactions have been studied repeatedly and thoroughly, we propose that a number of questions remain unanswered. First, little is known about whether avoidance, denial, cognitive reappraisal and suppression have distinct or similar effects on emotional experience and health-conducive behaviour. Second, little is known about the development of defensive reactions over time in case recipients are repeatedly exposed to health-promoting information, which is often the case in a real-life setting. In the present article, we present preliminary answers to these questions, suggesting that cognitive reappraisal has greater potential to result in effective emotion regulation and is more likely to impede healthy behaviour than the other three strategies. We also propose that defensive reactions to health-promoting information do not always reduce health-conducive responses but can co-occur with more adaptive responses or even facilitate them. Finally, we present a hypothesised model of the development of defensiveness over time.
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