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Fighting for independence: Significant others' goals for oneself incite reactance among the powerful


Journal of Experimental Social Psychology


Organisational Behaviour

Authors / Editors

Inesi M E;Rios K


Publication Year



We tested the prediction that power increases people's tendencies to act against the goals their close significant others have for them. Participants in Study 1 all reported in a pre-test that their mother wanted them to achieve, but that they themselves were relatively less interested in achieving. A week later, high-power (but not neutral-power) participants who were reminded of their mother were subsequently less likely to pursue an achievement goal. Study 2 replicated this pattern of results with romantic partners and showed that the effects were strongest when individuals were personally less interested in pursuing a goal they believed their significant other held for them. In Study 3, we looked at mothers and healthy eating goals, and found that the predicted pattern only emerged for close significant others. Further, feelings of reactance mediated high-power participants' tendencies to act against significant-other goals that they themselves held less strongly.


Power; Significant other; Relationship; Goal; Reactance

Available on ECCH


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