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Rather than inducing psychological reactance, requiring vaccination strengthens intentions to vaccinate in US populations

In a survey and three experiments (one preregistered with a nationally representative sample), we examined if vaccination requirements are likely to backfire, as commonly feared. We investigated if relative to encouraging free choice in vaccination, requiring a vaccine weakens or strengthens vaccination intentions, both in general and among individuals with a predisposition to experience psychological reactance. In the four studies, compared to free choice, requirements strengthened vaccination intentions across racial and ethnic groups, across studies, and across levels of trait psychological reactance. The results consistently suggest that fears of a backlash against vaccine mandates may be unfounded and that requirements will promote COVID-19 vaccine uptake in the United States.