This study investigates the influence of demographic characteristics, psychological variables, and the external instigating factor of threat on the decision to protest ranging from letter writing to engaging in increasingly illegal and violent forms of civil disobedience. Threat consists of three dimensions: social unit affected by threat, timing of threat, and saliency of threat. Results indicate that demographic characteristics are not a significant predictor of illegal or violent disobedience. Psychological variables do influence the decision to engage in civil dissent, but the relationship is complex and dependent on whether behavioural options are illegal or violent in nature. Dimensions of threat do not appear to be significant predictors of civil disobedience. Results indicate that previous research on demographic significance is outdated, and previous research addressing psychological variables is simplistic. External instigating factors, such as threat, require more investigation.
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