The explanatory value of psychological reactance and cognitive dissonance theory in mandated consultation in schools

Christopher Paul Wynne, Fordham University

Abstract

Sixteen teachers paired with 5 school psychologists working in a special education collaborative who were administratively forced to consult with each other were interviewed across several sessions using a semi-structured format. Questions were developed based on cognitive dissonance and reactance, in an effort to seek anecdotal evidence for effects of these social psychological theories within this perceived non-voluntary consultative arrangement. ^ Subsequent qualitative analysis of the transcripts largely revealed that teachers demonstrated reactance effects by retaining substantial control over how consultation proceeded and when it occurred. Additionally, lacking further outside professional commitments, consultants often sought to justify their involvement by assisting teachers. Accordingly, they implicitly assumed responsibility for client behavioral improvement in many instances. This denied teachers a necessary motivational source for attitudinal and behavioral change, thereby mitigating cognitive dissonance's impact. ^ Results were evaluated in light of these special circumstances. ^

Subject Area

Education, Educational Psychology|Education, Special|Psychology, Clinical

Recommended Citation

Christopher Paul Wynne, "The explanatory value of psychological reactance and cognitive dissonance theory in mandated consultation in schools" (January 1, 2002). ETD Collection for Fordham University. Paper AAI3040405.
http://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI3040405

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