Publication Date

Spring 2017

Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Aaron L. Wichman, Kelly L. Madole, and Andrew S. Mienaltowski

Degree Program

Department of Psychological Sciences

Degree Type

Master of Science


Previous research on information avoidance has revealed that people choose to avoid negative health information, but that this effect is interrupted by self-affirmation (Howell & Shepperd, 2013). The current study aimed to contribute to the field’s understanding of the conditions under which self-affirmation reduces information avoidance by using a unique affirmation: secure attachment figures. I hypothesized that activating a secure attachment would serve as the affirmation necessary for participants to choose to view their risk information for a fictitious enzyme deficiency. However, when given a choice, participants in both the experimental and control conditions chose to view this information. At best, these results demonstrate that psychological resources of a social nature were effective in protecting people from undesirable health risk information. At worst, they present a failure to replicate previous research. Explanations for why the results were unexpected and future modifications to the paradigm are discussed.


Applied Behavior Analysis | Personality and Social Contexts | Public Health | Social Psychology