The Role of Threat and Counterarguing in Therapeutic Inoculation

Bobi Ivanov, Stephen A. Rains, Lindsay L. Dillingham, Kimberly A. Parker, Sarah A. Geegan, Juliana L. Barbati

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Although inoculation theory was originally developed as a prophylactic strategy to protect favorable attitudes from challenges, scholars have begun to demonstrate the potential for therapeutic inoculation aimed at audiences with unfavorable and neutral attitudes. The current investigation builds on our previous work showing that inoculation messages fostered attitude change and protection among people who originally held negative and neutral attitudes. We return to our original three-phase experiment to explore the previously-unconsidered role of threat and counterarguing for promoting resistance in therapeutic inoculation. Results indicate that, while audiences with initially favorable attitudes demonstrated elevated levels of threat and counterarguing, neutral and opposed audiences did not. These results suggest that different mechanisms may drive resistance in the therapeutic inoculation among audiences who initially hold neutral and opposing attitudes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number
Pages (from-to)15-27
Number of pages13
JournalSouthern Communication Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Southern States Communication Association.


  • Threat
  • attitude change
  • counterarguing
  • prophylactic inoculation
  • resistance
  • therapeutic inoculation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication


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