Perceived coercion, resistance to persuasion, and the Type A behavior pattern

Charles S. Carver

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Three studies are reported, which tested the notion that persons possessing the Type A "coronary-prone" behavior pattern would be more susceptible to the experience of psychological reactance than would Type Bs, i.e., persons without that pattern. In Experiment 1, subjects exposed to a persuasive communication that was either low or high in coerciveness rated the degree of coercive intent behind the communication. Type As perceived greater coerciveness overall than Type Bs, a finding that was most reliable in the low coercion condition. In Experiment 2, subjects' postcommunication opinions were assessed, so that resistance to persuasion could be measured. A gender difference within Pattern A emerged from this study. Male Type As resisted the persuasion attempt to an equivalent degree whether it was low or high in coerciveness; female Type As displayed comparable resistance in the low coercion condition, but tended to be even more resistant in the high coercion condition. In contrast, both male and female Type Bs displayed persuasion in the low coercion condition, and resisted (to a degree comparable to Type As) in the high coercion condition. Experiment 3 further investigated resistance to persuasion among females, using a different issue for the persuasion attempt. Type A women again resisted more in the high coercion than the low coercion condition. Type B women displayed no evidence of resistance in either condition. Discussion centers on the observed gender difference and the possible theoretical importance of the notion that Type As perceive threat at lower objective levels than do Type Bs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)467-481
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Research in Personality
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1980

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Psychology(all)


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