SWELDENS Steven, TAVASSOLI Nader T.
Gender Identity Salience and Perceived Vulnerability to Breast Cancer Journal of Marketing Research 48, 3 (2011) 413-424
Breast cancer communications that make gender identity salient may have unintended deleterious effects by triggering defense mechanisms. We document adverse effects of gender identity salience on perceived vulnerability to breast cancer (Experiments 1A, 3A and 3B); donations to ovarian cancer research (1B); perceived processing difficulty (2A) and memory (2B) of breast cancer advertisements. These results are contrary to the predictions of several theoretical perspectives and a convenience sample of practitioners. We show that defensive denial of vulnerability is eliminated by self-affirmation (Experiment 3A) and fear voicing (3B). The latter studies corroborate the defensive nature of the effects, as well as provide means to minimize defensive reactions.