Suzanne C Thompson

Suzanne C Thompson
Pomona College · Department of Psychology

Ph.D.

About

67
Publications
32,650
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7,573
Citations
Citations since 2017
2 Research Items
1661 Citations
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2017201820192020202120222023050100150200250300
2017201820192020202120222023050100150200250300
Introduction
Suzanne C Thompson is Emerita Professor of Psychology at the Department of Psychology, Pomona College. Suzanne does research in Health Psychology, Social Psychology and Applied Psychology. Her current project is 'Threat Orientations', denial of health messages, and monogamy as an STI protection strategy.

Publications

Publications (67)
Article
Full-text available
Two studies investigated situational and dispositional influences on rejection of a sleep deprivation warning message for young adults. The hassle of protection (Study 1) and the self-relevance of the problem (Study 2) were manipulated; the disposition to use denial (threat orientation) for warning messages was measured. In both studies, it was fou...
Article
Background: Individuals who prepare for public emergencies can mitigate the effects of an incident, but denial of personal susceptibility may reduce the likelihood of preparation. Some denial may be due to a positive self-image that is at odds with being "at risk". The potential for an enhanced warning message that included a positive image of a p...
Article
Introduction Positive symptoms in schizophrenia often deal with themes of control. For the first time, the “illusion of control” bias was examined in patients with schizophrenia. Methods A total of 32 patients with schizophrenia and 31 nonclinical controls were administered two versions of an illusion of control paradigm. Participants were present...
Article
Full-text available
The authors examined the hypothesis that many individuals define monogamy based on emotional rather than sexual fidelity. Participants, 373 heterosexual college students and 282 gay men, read three vignettes of decreasing mitigation in which they imagined committing an act of infidelity against a hypothetical partner and where half the participants...
Article
In this chapter, the authors focus on the plight of individuals who are living with a chronic illness such as cancer, arthritis, or heart disease. First, the authors present the prevalence and characteristics of chronic illnesses to highlight their psychological and economic importance. The authors review the research that has focused on perception...
Article
Two distinctly different denial-based threat orientations (avoidance denial and optimistic denial) were examined using a message about the future risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) for young adults. Participants (N = 101) completed measures of denial-based dispositional threat orientations, current eating, comparative risk, and objective risk for...
Article
A sense of personal control is an important resource that helps people maintain emotional stability and successfully negotiate their way through life. People foster their perceived control by focusing on reachable goals, creating new avenues for control, and accepting difficult-to-change circumstances. In general, perceived control need not be real...
Article
Five types of denial to protect against the implications of a personal health threat message (cardiovascular disease or CVD) were examined. Undergraduates (N = 150) were randomly assigned to levels of threat and difficulty, read the message, and completed measures of objective risk for CVD, optimistic denial threat orientation, measures of 1 type o...
Article
Individual differences in threat in reactions to personal threat were examined using four health or theft threats. Probability and severity of the threats were manipulated. Participants (n = 94) completed measures of threat orientations, read each message, and rated perceived risk, concern, as well as current and intended protective behavior. As ex...
Article
This study explored the interactive effects of dispositional threat orientation, type of message, and having children on reactions to a message about exposure to bisphenol A (BPA) in plastics. The study used a 2 (message: Fear Arousal or Plain)×2 (parenting status: child or no child)×2 (threat orientation: high or low) mixed factorial design. Adult...
Article
Individual differences in processing information about a personal threat message about bisphenol A (BPA) risk were examined using the threat orientation model (Thompson & Schlehofer, 200825. Thompson , S. C. , & Schlehofer , M. M. ( 2008 ). Control, denial, and heightened sensitivity reactions to personal threat: Testing the generalizability of the...
Article
Examined 2 hypotheses about factors that would make it easier or more difficult to see one's life as meaningful after a major life stressor. 79 cancer patients (aged 31–82 yrs) and their spouses participated. It was predicted that greater meaning would be associated with positive interpretational styles (optimism and low endorsement of irrational b...
Article
A lack of control is a critical social issue when it is experienced by individuals who already have little opportunity to exercise control; thus, this journal issue brings together research on a number of vulnerable populations: children, medical patients, lower level employees, and the elderly. Because of the diverse populations to which this conc...
Article
The threat orientation model proposes three dispositional responses to threats: control, heightened sensitivity, and denial. Two studies explored the psychometric properties of the previously developed threat orientation scales and the relationship between the orientations and the responses to a variety of threats. Study 1 found that the control-ba...
Article
Full-text available
We compared the relationship between gender role beliefs and antigay prejudice in Chile and the United States. Participants were Chilean and American university students. In Study 1, Chileans were more prejudiced than Americans, and men were more prejudiced than women. In Study 2, gender role beliefs mediated cultural and sex differences in prejudi...
Article
Full-text available
One of the few studies to examine judgments of personal control in a contingency situation found that participants did not overestimate their control on a task where actual control was possible. However, that study used a design that confounded control and reinforcement. In this study, control (none, medium, high) and reinforcement (low, high) were...
Article
The role that costs, benefits, and perceptions of invulnerability play in condom use was examined in a sample of students (N= 211) at 4-year and 2-year colleges. In multiple regression analyses, past condom use was related to relative invulnerability, low present risk, and inexperience. Less intended condom use was associated with high perceptions...
Article
Caregivers of the elderly and infirm are often under more stress and report lower life satisfaction than matched groups of noncaregivers. Forty caregivers of stroke patients (usually a spouse) were interviewed an average of 9 months poststroke to determine the factors associated with poorer caregiver adjustment. Four classes of variables were expec...
Article
Several studies have suggested that chronically ill adults who receive overprotective care are more depressed and less motivated in rehabilitation therapy. However, for this area of research to proceed, a standard definition and measurement of perceptions of overprotection are needed. In the present study, long and short forms of a scale (the OPSA)...
Article
Reasons for unsafe sex were examined using an illusions of control framework. Heterosexual college students (N= 301) and gay men (N= 248) were surveyed regarding perceived control over exposure to HIV, of vulnerability to HIV, use of illusory control in chance situations, and real and illusory strategies for protection against HIV. As predicted, th...
Article
Interviews were conducted with 501 adults during the second year following the September 2001 terrorist attacks. Hypotheses about the long-term effects and the factors that are associated with general distress and fear of flying were derived from primary and secondary control theory. Women, younger individuals, and Latinos reported more current dis...
Article
Full-text available
To develop measures of 3 threat orientations that affect responses to health behavior messages. In Study 1, college students (N = 47) completed items assessing threat orientations and health behaviors. In Study 2, college students and community adults (N = 110) completed the threat orientation items and measures of convergent and discriminant valid...
Article
Individuals with a cardiac condition and their spousal caregivers were recruited from cardiac rehabilitation centers and interviewed separately. Based on exchange theory, it was expected that greater caregiver resentment would be associated with feeling underbenefited in the relationship and with an orientation to relationships that did not focus o...
Article
An experiment was done to examine the control heuristic perspective on illusory control and the effects of motives on control judgments, using a computer task similar to the light onset task used in previous research. Desire for the outcome and reinforcement were manipulated. As predicted from a control heuristic perspective, the effect of level of...
Article
Full-text available
An intervention to increase condom use by undermining perceptions of invulnerability to HIV was tested in a sample of 128 college students. Participants were randomly assigned to the invulnerability undermined (IU) condition or a demand characteristic control (DCC) condition. The IU condition used tasks that highlighted past failures to protect one...
Article
Full-text available
Three models of the sources of overprotection in stroke patients were tested in a study of the behavioral and attitudinal concomitants of overprotective caregiving. Stroke patients and their family member caregivers were interviewed to assess feelings of overprotection, physical and mental functioning, and caregiving-related attitudes. The couples...
Article
Beliefs about appearance-related changes due to aging were used to test the effects of perceived control and secondary control (acceptance) in a sample of 412 young, early-middle-age, and late-middle-age college-educated adults. Mean difference in aging-related appearance control and hypotheses regarding the adaptiveness of primary and secondary co...
Article
Two studies evaluated whether there was a subtype of menopausal women and, if so, how it differed from the global gender stereotype. Study 1 had participants generate items associated with women going through menopause, midlife women, and midlife men. Results showed that there is a menopausal women stereotype, and it is mostly negative in content....
Article
Illusions of control are common even in purely chance situations. They are particularly likely to occur in settings that are characterized by personal involvement, familiarity, foreknowledge of the desired outcome, and a focus on success. Person-based factors that affect illusions of control include depressive mood and need for control. One explana...
Article
Beliefs about appearance-related changes due to aging were used to test the effects of perceived control and secondary control (acceptance) in a sample of 412 young, early-middle-age, and late-middle-age college-educated adults. Mean difference in aging-related appearance control and hypotheses regarding the adaptiveness of primary and secondary co...
Article
The illusions of control area is reviewed, and 5 conditions that influence control judgments are identified: skill-related factors, success or failure emphasis, need for the outcome, mood, and the intrusion of reality. It is proposed that individuals use a control heuristic that includes perceptions of intentionality and connection. Judgments of in...
Article
The outgroup homogeneity phenomenon was examined by having majority group members (White Americans) judge the variability in attitudes about intergroup relations in their own group and one outgroup (African Americans). A preliminary study found the threat of the attitude statements to the group doing the judging seemed to affect whether or not part...
Article
Although finding meaning and reestablishing a sense of control following a major loss are important contributors to successful coping, many individuals are unable to restore these adaptive assumptions. Five strategies for reestablishing meaning and control are identified, and it is proposed that the use of these strategies requires cognitive work,...
Article
The primacy of primary control over secondary control and ethnic differences in control processes were tested in HIV-positive male state prison inmates. They rated their perceptions of control and psychological distress at an initial interview (N = 95) and 3 months later (N = 78). Regression analyses revealed that primary control had primacy as it...
Article
Questionnaires were administered to 105 HIV-positive men to assess their stressful life events, rated stress, unhealthy behaviours, and psychological adjustment. Two hypotheses about the effects of stressors and stress were tested. It was found that HIV-positive men experience high numbers of stressors and elevated levels of perceived stress and de...
Article
A sense of personal control is associated with a variety of positive outcomes for those who are living with a chronic illness. The authors discuss the background and measurement of perceived control so that the construct can be used more easily in studies of coping with the experience of having cancer. They review four theoretical approaches that e...
Article
Full-text available
Counterfactuals generated by victims of traumatic events were examined to elucidate their significance for the coping process. In Study 1, respondents were interviewed 4-7 years after the loss of their spouse or child in a motor vehicle accident. In Study 2, respondents were interviewed at 3 weeks and 18 months following the death of their child fr...
Article
Two dimensions of perceived control (primary vs. secondary and central vs. consequence-related) were examined in a sample of 104 HIV-positive men. Two hypotheses regarding the use of primary control (acting to achieve specific outcomes) and secondary control (acceptance) were supported: The use of both primary and secondary control was associated w...
Article
The relationship between two motives underlying environmental attitudes was examined: ecocentrism—valuing nature for its own sake, and anthropocentrism—valuing nature because of material or physical benefits it can provide for humans. Scales to measure ecocentric and anthropocentric attitudes and general apathy toward environmental issues were deve...
Article
We examined desires to be involved in decisions about one's own medical treatment in a sample of 459 health maintenance organization members. Demographic variables (age, sex and education level) that have been found to be related to decision preferences were also tested. As predicted, respondents expressed a desire to be involved in decisions that...
Article
Chronically ill adults who feel overprotected by family members tend to be more depressed. However, little is known about the source of these feelings of overly protective care. In this study, three explanations why family members may be seen by stroke patients as overprotective were tested: (a) a discrepancy between patients and caregivers in judg...
Article
Three factors that might help explain the extent to which physicians counsel patients to quit smoking and lose weight were examined: counselling self-efficacy, training in behaviour change and beliefs about causes of smoking and being overweight. More aggressive counselling was defined as counselling more patients per month and following up on coun...
Article
Three questions about the role of perceived control in coping with a major life stressor were addressed in a sample of 71 cancer patients. As expected, those with greater perceptions of control were less depressed, even when physical functioning, marital satisfaction, and negative affectivity were controlled for. Consistent with a compensatory mode...
Article
Research on the commons dilemma has enjoyed much vigorous interest in the social psychological literature since Hardin's (1968) discussion of the dilemma as it relates to environmental concerns. However, to date, we have found only one study that used the metaphor of the commons dilemma to effect behavioral change. In Experiment 1, we examined the...
Article
Three questions about the role of perceived control in coping with a major life stressor were addressed in a sample of 71 cancer patients. As expected, those with greater perceptions of control were less depressed, even when physical functioning, marital satisfaction, and negative affectivity were controlled for. Consistent with a compensatory mode...
Chapter
The bulk of the research on perceived control indicates that we feel better about ourselves, are physically healthier, perform better on cognitive and manual tasks, cope better with adversity, and are better able to make desired behavioral changes if we have a sense of personal control (Thompson & Spacapan, 1991). Given these positive effects, it i...
Article
focuses on the effects of chronic illness on the marital relationship, and ways in which well partners affect their spouses' adjustment to the illness / describe theoretical perspectives on the family and on relationships, which can provide a framework for understanding and interpreting the research in this area and can suggest avenues for further...
Article
It was hypothesized that educational interventions that focus on the long-term consequences of water use and the efficacy of personal action to conserve would be more effective in reducing water consumption among residential water users than messages that focus on the economic advantages of conservation or a control condition that was given only ti...
Article
Predictions from cognitive theories of adjustment to victimization were tested in two groups: stroke patients and their caregivers. Consistent with these approaches, a substantial proportion of respondents reported searching for a cause, asking themselves "Why me?" and finding meaning in the event. Multiple regression analysis revealed that, even w...
Article
Examined a simple intervention to improve the patient's contribution to communication in a medical office visit. In the first study, women awaiting a medical appointment were randomly assigned either to a group that was asked to list three questions to ask their physician or to a control group. Women who listed questions asked more questions in the...
Article
A stroke can be a serious and debilitating health problem. The present study examined the effect of the severity of the stroke, patients' cognitive adaptation to their situation, the relationship with the caregiver and caregivers' adaptation on patient depression and motivation in outpatient therapy. Forty poststroke patients and their primary care...
Article
A conceptual framework is presented for understanding what is meant by “finding meaning.” It is proposed that individuals have life schemes that provide a sense of order and purpose in one's life. A life scheme is a cognitive representation of one's life, much like a story, which organizes one's perspectives on the world and oneself, goals one wish...
Article
In spite of the widespread use of vived messages by advertisers and other would-be persuaders, empirical research has generated little support for the vividness effect. The apparently common belief in the persuasive powers of vividness, coupled with this lack of supporting research, suggests the possibility that vividness has an illusory effect on...
Article
reviewed the evidence suggesting that control is not always desirable and discussed some implications of these findings for interventions in health care settings factors that influence the effects of control / effort and attention / amount of control / lack of information / perferred coping styles / unsuccessful control attempts / disconfirmation...
Article
The loss of a child in utero can be a tragic experience. The purpose of the present study was to examine some patient characteristics that may predict which women are likely to have problems in adjusting to the loss and to examine the effectiveness of interventions by care providers in facilitating emotional recovery. Twenty-eight women who were no...
Article
Full-text available
People whose homes were damaged or destroyed by a fire were surveyed immediately after the fire and 1 year later. It was predicted that finding positive meaning in that traumatic event would be associated with better coping and with less blame to others for the event. Five ways of focusing on the positive were measured in this study: finding side b...
Article
A research review provides little support for the hypothesis that vividly presented information is more persuasive and has more impact on judgments than nonvividly presented information. Examination of the proposed processes by which vividness effects are thought to occur (memorability, imageability, and affective impact) reveals that these argumen...
Article
Three studies extended M. Ross and F. Sicoly's (see record 1980-23237-001) work on egocentric biases in close relationships. In Study 1 (157 individuals in an ongoing heterosexual relationship), egocentric biases in judging responsibility were evidenced for a number of activities in a relationship, and the percentage of self-instances recalled was...
Article
Full-text available
Presents a typology of control and reviews research that relates the 4 types of control (behavioral, cognitive, information, and retrospective) to reactions to aversive stimuli. After a review of theories relevant to this area, a unifying theme is presented. It is proposed that reactions to potentially stressful events depend on their meaning for t...
Article
A study was done to demonstrate the usefulness of a signal detection theory (TSD) analysis of the perception of social cues. Eighty-three subjects filled out three personality inventories and then judged how sure they were that approval had or had not been given in each of 104 videotaped remarks. Sensitivity and response bias were predicted from in...
Article
Discusses theoretical and methodological issues of perceived control (PC) in coping with the experience of cancer. Social learning, learned helplessness, cognitive social learning, and social psychological theories illustrate the central role that perceptions of control play in the maintenance of emotional well-being and dealing with stressful life...
Article
Photocopy of typescript. Thesis (M.A.)--California State University, Long Beach. Abstract preceding title page. Includes bibliographical references.

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