A time to tan: proximal and distal effects of mortality salience on sun exposure Intentions

Routledge, Clay, Arndt, Jamie and Goldenberg, Jamie L. (2004) A time to tan: proximal and distal effects of mortality salience on sun exposure Intentions. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 30, (10), 1347-1358. (doi:10.1177/0146167204264056).


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Original Publication URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0146167204264056


According to the dual defense model of terror management, proximal defenses are engaged to reduce the conscious impact of mortality salience, whereas thoughts of death outside of conscious awareness motivate distal defenses aimed at maintaining self-esteem.

Two experiments examined these ideas by assessing women’s intentions to engage in tanning-related behavior. In Study 1, when concerns about death (relative to dental pain) were in focal attention, participants increased intentions to protect themselves from dangerous sun exposure. In contrast, when thoughts about death were outside of focal attention, participants decreased interest in sun protection.

In Study 2, participants primed to associate tanned skin with an attractive appearance responded to mortality concerns outside of focal attention with increased interest in tanning products and services. These findings are discussed in relation to the dual-defense model of terror management, societal determinants of self-esteem, and implications for health risk and promotion.

Item Type: Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): doi:10.1177/0146167204264056
ISSNs: 0146-1672 (print)
Related URLs:
Keywords: tanning, self-esteem, mortality salience, proximal defenses, distal defenses
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions : University Structure - Pre August 2011 > School of Psychology > Division of Human Wellbeing
ePrint ID: 39989
Accepted Date and Publication Date:
Date Deposited: 05 Jul 2006
Last Modified: 31 Mar 2016 12:10
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/39989

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