Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Psychology and Behavioral Sciences
The present study was designed to assess the impact of two dispositional variables, psychological reactance and desire for control, on individual perceptions of common elements of psychological change. These common elements represent cognitive, affective, and behavioral aspects of psychological change. The study tested whether individuals with different levels of psychological reactance and desire for control systematically differed in their perception of the importance of elements relevant to psychological change. Participants (N = 420) completed three self-report assessment instruments: (a) the Common Elements of Change Questionnaire, (b) Hong's Psychological Reactance Scale, and (c) the Desirability of Control Scale. As hypothesized, results indicated that those high in psychological reactance and desire for control differed significantly from those low in psychological reactance and desire for control in their perception of the importance of a dimension of change labeled Cognitive and Affective Self-Experience. Specifically, those high in psychological reactance perceived Cognitive and Affective Self-Experience to be more important or necessary to the process of change than those low in psychological reactance. Likewise, those high in desire for control perceived Cognitive and Affective Self-Experience to be more important or necessary to the process of change than those low in desire for control. Also as hypothesized, the author found a statistically significant relationship between psychological reactance (as Freedom of Choice) and desire for control (as Avoidance of Dependence), supporting the notion that these two variables similarly assess one's motivation to exercise personal control. These findings indicate that psychological reactance and desire for control are likely to impact one's perceptions of psychological change. The present study has potential applied psychotherapeutic significance since mental health professionals could use information concerning individual differences in client's perceptions of change to positively influence the process and outcome of psychotherapy.
Williams, Morgan Edward, "" (2001). Dissertation. 713.