Terror management theory and self-esteem revisited: the roles of implicit and explicit self-esteem in mortality salience effects.

  title={Terror management theory and self-esteem revisited: the roles of implicit and explicit self-esteem in mortality salience effects.},
  author={Brandon J. Schmeichel and Matthew Thomas Gailliot and E. Filardo and Ian Mcgregor and Seth A. Gitter and Roy F. Baumeister},
  journal={Journal of personality and social psychology},
  volume={96 5},
Three studies tested the roles of implicit and/or explicit self-esteem in reactions to mortality salience. In Study 1, writing about death versus a control topic increased worldview defense among participants low in implicit self-esteem but not among those high in implicit self-esteem. In Study 2, a manipulation to boost implicit self-esteem reduced the effect of mortality salience on worldview defense. In Study 3, mortality salience increased the endorsement of positive personality… 

Figures from this paper

Terror Management Theory: The Influence of Terrorism Salience on Anxiety and the Buffering of Cultural Worldview and Self-esteem
Terror management theory has previously explored the buffering of self-esteem and United States cultural worldview upon anxiety and mortality salience. However, the combination of the United Kingdom
The Effects of Trait Self-Esteem and Death Cognitions on Worldview Defense and Search for Meaning
Two studies raised the question as to whether those with low trait self-esteem engage in efforts to find meaning in response to mortality salience, and showed that MS increased the search for meaning for low, but not high, traitSelf-esteem individuals.
Failure Causes Fear: The Effect of Self-Esteem Threat on Death-Anxiety
According to terror management theory (TMT), self-esteem protects people from anxiety associated with the knowledge of certain mortality, but no studies have experimentally examined the effect of threatened self- esteem on death-anxiety.
Two Decades of Terror Management Theory: A Meta-Analysis of Mortality Salience Research
A meta-analysis was conducted on empirical trials investigating the mortality salience (MS) hypothesis of terror management theory, finding moderate effects on a range of worldview- and self-esteem-related dependent variables (DVs).
Does self-esteem inflation mitigate mortality salience effects on suicide attitudes?
Findings provide some promising potential for the self-esteem enhancement intervention to attenuate defensive reactions to suicide.
Terror Management and Personality: Variations in the Psychological Defense Against the Awareness of Mortality
Drawing on terror management theory (TMT), we discuss the psychological motivations that shape personality at two levels: the characteristically human personality common to us all and the individual
The Curse and the Blessing
Mortality Salience and Cultural Cringe
Terror Management Theory predicts that mortality salience (MS) instigates cultural worldview defenses, especially among individuals with lower self-esteem. That MS intensifies positive evaluations of
When death is not a problem: Regulating implicit negative affect under mortality salience.
It is assumed that this implicit affective reaction towards death depends on people's ability to self-regulate negative affect as assessed by the personality dimension of action versus state orientation, and action-oriented participants judged artificial words to express less negative affect under mortality salience compared to control conditions.


Terror management theory and self-esteem: evidence that increased self-esteem reduces mortality salience effects.
The results of Experiments 1 and 2 confirmed that self-esteem would reduce the worldview defense produced by mortality salience, and suggested that the effects of the first 2 experiments may have occurred because high self- esteem facilitates the suppression of death constructs following MS.
Why do people need self-esteem? A theoretical and empirical review.
Terror management theory (TMT) is compared with other explanations for why people need self-esteem, and a critique of the most prominent of these, sociometer theory, is provided.
Effects of Existential Anxiety and Self-Esteem on the Perception of Others
Previous research has demonstrated that when people are led to think about death they later exhibit more polarized judgments of ingroup and outgroup members. This reaction has been interpreted as an
The mask of zeal: Low implicit self-esteem, threat, and defensive extremism
Theorists have long proposed that vulnerable people turn to zeal in the face of perceived self-threats because doing so somehow masks the threats. The present study supports this idea, and suggests
Attachment, self-esteem, worldviews, and terror management: evidence for a tripartite security system.
Four studies are presented that support the prediction derived from the model that threats to one component of the security system result in compensatory defensive activation of other components and that individual differences in attachment style moderate the defenses.
Effects of Self-Esteem on Vulnerability-Denying Defensive Distortions: Further Evidence of an Anxiety-Buffering Function of Self-Esteem
Abstract Two studies were conducted to assess the proposition that self-esteem serves an anxiety-buffering function. In Study 1, it was hypothesized that raising self-esteem would reduce the need to
Ideological and Personal Zeal Reactions to Threat Among People With High Self-Esteem: Motivated Promotion Focus
Findings clarify the role of dispositional self-esteem in mortality salience research and confirm that, as has been found with various other threats, zealous reactions to mortality Salience are most pronounced among participants with high self- esteem.
Self-regulatory processes defend against the threat of death: Effects of self-control depletion and trait self-control on thoughts and fears of dying.
The results suggest that self-regulation is a key intrapsychic mechanism for alleviating troublesome thoughts and feelings about mortality.
The Effects of a Self-Esteem Boost and Mortality Salience on Responses to Boost Relevant and Irrelevant Worldview Threats
Previous research found that raising self-esteem attenuates mortality salience effects on reactions to cultural worldview threats. The present study assessed whether raising self-esteem attenuates