Date of Award

Spring 2005

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Psychology and Behavioral Sciences

First Advisor

James Loveland


Psychological reactance (reactance) is a personality variable receiving a great deal of attention. Reactance has been defined as the motivational force aroused in an individual when a behavioral freedom is lost or threatened (Brehm, 1966). The current study assessed the interrelationships among psychological reactance, coping, quality of life, and well-being. A total of 353 participants were analyzed for this study. Participants completed four self-report instruments: (1) the Therapeutic Reactance Scale, (2) the Coping Styles Questionnaire, (3) the Overall Quality of Life Scale, (4) the General Well-Being Schedule, and a demographics questionnaire. Significant gender differences existed for reactance, detachment coping, emotional coping, and anxiety well-being; therefore males and females were analyzed separately. As hypothesized, psychological reactance and coping were related. Specifically, emotional coping and detachment coping predicted levels of reactance in males. Emotional coping predicted reactance in females. Likewise, as hypothesized psychological reactance was related to quality of life. A negative relationship was found between reactance and quality of life indicating that as reactance increases quality of life decreases for both males and females. A relationship was found between psychological reactance and well-being indicating that as individuals become more reactant their well-being decreases and they become more self-controlling. This was true for both males and females. As hypothesized, psychological reactance moderated the relationship between reactance and quality of life for males but the specific nature of the relationship could not be determined. For females, psychological reactance moderated the relationship between detached coping and quality of life. Finally, psychological reactance moderated the relationship between coping and well-being but the exact nature, direction, and intensity could not be determined. These findings, in conjunction with future research, may enhance the process of therapy, therapist-client relations, doctor-patient relations, and employer-employee relations both theoretically and practically.