Adjusting to death: the effects of mortality salience and self-esteem on psychological well-being, growth motivation, and maladaptive behavior


Routledge, Clay, Ostafin, Brian, Juhl, Jacob, Sedikides, Constantine, Cathey, Christie and Liao, Jiangqun (2010) Adjusting to death: the effects of mortality salience and self-esteem on psychological well-being, growth motivation, and maladaptive behavior. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 99, (6), 897-916. (doi:10.1037/a0021431). (PMID:21114350).

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Description/Abstract

This research builds on terror management theory to examine the relationships among self-esteem, death cognition, and psychological adjustment. Self-esteem was measured (Studies 1–2, 4–8) or manipulated (Study 3), and thoughts of death were manipulated (Studies 1–3, 5–8) or measured (Study 4). Subsequently, satisfaction with life (Study 1), subjective vitality (Study 2), meaning in life (Studies 3–5), positive and negative affect (Studies 1, 4, 5), exploration (Study 6), state anxiety (Study 7), and social avoidance (Study 8) were assessed. Death-related cognition (a) decreased satisfaction with life, subjective vitality, meaning in life, and exploration; (b) increased negative affect and state anxiety; and (c) exacerbated social avoidance for individuals with low self-esteem but not for those with high self-esteem. These effects occurred only when death thoughts were outside of focal attention. Parallel effects were found in American (Studies 1–4, 6–8) and Chinese (Study 5) samples.

Item Type: Article
ISSNs: 0022-3514 (print)
1939-1315 (electronic)
Keywords: self-esteem, mortality salience, well-being
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0321 Neuroscience. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry
Divisions: University Structure - Pre August 2011 > School of Psychology > Division of Human Wellbeing
Faculty of Social and Human Sciences > Psychology
ePrint ID: 170337
Date Deposited: 06 Jan 2011 10:04
Last Modified: 27 Mar 2014 19:20
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/170337

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