Is It Always Good to Feel in Control? Effects of Mortality Salience and Health Locus of Control on Health Behaviors

This research asks how perceptions of control over one’s health interact with mortality salience in a fatal and contagious disease context. While we see benefits of increased personal control on health at baseline, we find that perceived control over personal health leads to unrealistic optimism (i.e., denial of risk) and reduced disease prevention intentions when death is made salient or when others are the focus of risk assessment. We attribute these interactions to a tendency to generalize one’s own health behaviors to others, paradoxically decreasing the perceived need to engage in protection.


Mary Frances Luce, Devavrat Purohit, and Adriana Samper (2009) ,"Is It Always Good to Feel in Control? Effects of Mortality Salience and Health Locus of Control on Health Behaviors", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 36, eds. Ann L. McGill and Sharon Shavitt, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 894-894.


Mary Frances Luce, Duke University, USA
Devavrat Purohit, Duke University, USA
Adriana Samper, Duke University, USA


NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 36 | 2009

Share Proceeding

Featured papers

See More


Metaphorically Transgressing the Brand Relationship

Alberto Lopez, Tecnológico de Monterrey, MEXICO
Martin Reimann, University of Arizona, USA
Raquel Castaño, Tecnológico de Monterrey, MEXICO

Read More


M3. #FOMO: How the Fear of Missing Out Drives Consumer Purchase Decisions

Michelle van Solt, Florida International University
Jessica Rixom, University of Nevada, Reno
Kimberly Taylor, Florida International University

Read More


Is Warm Always Trusting? The Effect of Seasonality on Trustworthiness

Gretchen Wilroy, Pennsylvania State University, USA
Margaret Meloy, Pennsylvania State University, USA
Simon Blanchard, Georgetown University, USA

Read More

Engage with Us

Becoming an Association for Consumer Research member is simple. Membership in ACR is relatively inexpensive, but brings significant benefits to its members.