The Existential Function of Close Relationships: Introducing Death Into the Science of Love

  title={The Existential Function of Close Relationships: Introducing Death Into the Science of Love},
  author={Mario Mikulincer and Victor Florian and Gilad Hirschberger},
  journal={Personality and Social Psychology Review},
  pages={20 - 40}
Originally, terror management theory proposed two psychological mechanisms in dealing with the terror of death awareness-cultural worldview validation and self-esteem enhancement. In this article, we would like to promote the idea of close relationships as an additional death-anxiety buffering mechanism and review a growing body of empirical data that support this contention. Based on a comprehensive analysis of the sociocultural and personal functions of close relationships, we formulate two… 
The Roles of Self-Esteem and Attachment within the Framework of Terror Management Theory
Built upon the idea that human beings, as the only species whose members are aware of their own consciousness and future death, have to come up with a system to deal with this awareness, terror
Scared to death or scared to love? Terror management theory and close relationships seeking
To cope with paralyzing terror awakened by thoughts of their own death people usually use two defense mechanisms: cultural worldview and self-esteem. Recent studies suggest that also close
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Terror management theory posits that close relationships assuage existential mortality concerns because they foster attachment-based felt security, enhance self-esteem, and validate shared cultural
Self‐Esteem: A Human Solution to the Problem of Death
Terror management theory (TMT) posits that the need for self-esteem develops out of the socialization process in which children learn to abide by parental and, eventually, societal standards of
Spiritual transcendence as a buffer against death anxiety
Terror Management Theory assumes the existence of two basic buffers against mortality salience: self-esteem and worldview. The aim of the current paper is to propose another buffer against mortality
The Role of Death in Life: Existential Aspects of Human Motivation
The capacity for self-reflection, which plays an important role in human self-regulation, also leads people to become aware of the limitations of their existence. Awareness of the conflict between
From Cradle to Grave: A Terror Management Theory Analysis of Parenthood
  • S. Solomon
  • Psychology
    Pathways and Barriers to Parenthood
  • 2019
According to terror management theory, human beings share a basic biological predisposition toward self-preservation with all other forms of life. Humans are, however, unique in their capacity for
The Role of Close Relationships in Terror Management: A Systematic Review and Research Agenda
  • Nicholas Plusnin, C. Pepping, E. Kashima
  • Psychology, Business
    Personality and social psychology review : an official journal of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, Inc
  • 2018
A range of dispositional and situational moderating factors influence either the activation or inhibition of relational strivings to manage heightened death awareness, the most influential being attachment, gender, and relationship-contingent self-esteem.
Tales from Existential Oceans: Terror Management Theory and How the Awareness of Our Mortality Affects Us All
Terror management theory is a social psychological theory that draws from existential, psychodynamic, and evolutionary perspectives to understand the often potent influence that deeply rooted


The anxiety-buffering function of close relationships: evidence that relationship commitment acts as a terror management mechanism.
The findings expand terror management theory, emphasizing the anxiety-buffering function of close relationships, and the induction of thoughts about problems in romantic relationships led to higher accessibility of death-related thoughts.
Symbolic immortality and the management of the terror of death: the moderating role of attachment style.
Three studies were designed to examine the contribution of R. J. Lifton's (1979) symbolic immortality construct to the management of the terror of death and to investigate whether attachment style may underlie this contribution, and revealed an inverse correlation between self-reports of symbolic immortality and fear of personal death.
The Causes and Consequences of a Need for Self-Esteem: A Terror Management Theory
Throughout the past few thousand years, historical accounts, philosophical treatises, and works of fiction and poetry have often depicted humans as having a need to perceive themselves as good, and
The Death-Anxiety Buffering Function of Close Relationships: Exploring the Effects of Separation Reminders on Death-Thought Accessibility
Three studies examined the effects of separation reminders on death-thought accessibility. In Study 1, participants imagined a separation from a relationship partner, the death of such a partner, or
A dual-process model of defense against conscious and unconscious death-related thoughts: an extension of terror management theory.
Proximal defenses, which entail suppressing death-related thoughts or pushing the problem of death into the distant future by denying one's vulnerability, are rational, threat-focused, and activated when thoughts of death are in current focal attention.
Fear of death and the judgment of social transgressions: a multidimensional test of terror management theory.
Findings indicate that the effects of mortality salience depend on the aspect of death that is made salient, the aspectof death that individuals most fear, and the type of the judged transgression.
Role of consciousness and accessibility of death-related thoughts in mortality salience effects.
Findings suggest that mortality salience effects are unique to thoughts of death and occur primarily when such thoughts are highly accessible but outside of consciousness.
Whistling in the Dark: Exaggerated Consensus Estimates in Response to Incidental Reminders of Mortality
Terror management theory posits that cultural worldviews function to provide protection against anxiety concerning human vulnerability and mortality and that their effectiveness as buffers against