Reducing threat responses to help-seeking information: Influences of self-affirmations and reassuring information.

This research was an examination of the effects of two types of self-affirmation interventions in reducing threat responses associated with receiving help-seeking information. Help-seeking information can be threatening to one’s positive self-perceptions and people may avoid seeking such information to protect themselves. There is evidence that reflecting on personal values (values affirmation) may bolster self-integrity and mitigate this avoidance, and it is possible that reflecting on safe, close social relationships (social affirmation) could exhibit similar effects. To experimentally examine this theoretical idea, we applied a 2 × 2 × 2 factorial design in the present study on 384 participants and experimentally manipulated their values affirmations (values affirmation vs. no values affirmation) and social affirmations (social affirmation vs. no social affirmation). In addition, because there is no consensus as to the most effective presentation of help-seeking information, the type of help-seeking information presented to potential help-seekers was also manipulated (reassuring help-seeking information vs. nonreassuring help-seeking information). Results indicated that values affirmation and reassuring information were linked to lower threat responses, but social affirmation was not. Values affirmation and reassuring information might be effective strategies for reducing threat responses associated with the presentation of psychological help-seeking information. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved)