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The worm at the core: terror management perspective on the roots of psychological dysfunction

The worm at the core: terror management perspective on the roots of psychological dysfunction
The worm at the core: terror management perspective on the roots of psychological dysfunction
A growing body of research derived from terror management theory [e.g., Solomon, S., Greenberg, J., & Pyszczynski, T. (1991). A terror management theory of social behavior: The psychological functions of self-esteem and cultural worldviews. In M. P. Zanna (Ed.), Advances in experimental social psychology: vol. 24 (pp. 93–159). New York: Academic Press] suggests that the human struggle with the awareness of inevitable death can greatly impact people's physical and psychological well-being. The current article reviews converging lines of research that investigate the role of terror management processes in physical and mental health. Specifically, we present research that elucidates the role of death concerns in (1) conscious threat-focused defenses, (2) self-esteem striving, (3) depression, (4) anxiety disorders, (5) discomfort with the physicality of the body and (6) neuroticism. We conclude that terror management theory builds upon the work of other existential scholars and mental health perspectives to provide a broad conceptual and empirically based account of how deeply rooted existential fears manifest in ways that prove both psychologically and physically problematic. We also suggest how future research and social interventions can be employed to help individuals manage basic fears in ways that do not compromise their psychological and physical health.
psychological, physical, social, terror management
191-213
Arndt, Jamie
9f74041c-58f9-43b5-96f1-19dda49b7d87
Routledge, Clay
c1e0088a-3cc4-4d54-bbd3-de7d286429d8
Cox, Cathy R.
9ddd9d6d-8048-4f65-b389-e6dbacb81b4d
Goldenberg, Jamie L.
0a9ae29b-37be-441a-b401-b95baaac3880
Arndt, Jamie
9f74041c-58f9-43b5-96f1-19dda49b7d87
Routledge, Clay
c1e0088a-3cc4-4d54-bbd3-de7d286429d8
Cox, Cathy R.
9ddd9d6d-8048-4f65-b389-e6dbacb81b4d
Goldenberg, Jamie L.
0a9ae29b-37be-441a-b401-b95baaac3880

Arndt, Jamie, Routledge, Clay, Cox, Cathy R. and Goldenberg, Jamie L. (2005) The worm at the core: terror management perspective on the roots of psychological dysfunction. Applied and Preventative Psychology, 11 (3), 191-213. (doi:10.1016/j.appsy.2005.07.002).

Record type: Article

Abstract

A growing body of research derived from terror management theory [e.g., Solomon, S., Greenberg, J., & Pyszczynski, T. (1991). A terror management theory of social behavior: The psychological functions of self-esteem and cultural worldviews. In M. P. Zanna (Ed.), Advances in experimental social psychology: vol. 24 (pp. 93–159). New York: Academic Press] suggests that the human struggle with the awareness of inevitable death can greatly impact people's physical and psychological well-being. The current article reviews converging lines of research that investigate the role of terror management processes in physical and mental health. Specifically, we present research that elucidates the role of death concerns in (1) conscious threat-focused defenses, (2) self-esteem striving, (3) depression, (4) anxiety disorders, (5) discomfort with the physicality of the body and (6) neuroticism. We conclude that terror management theory builds upon the work of other existential scholars and mental health perspectives to provide a broad conceptual and empirically based account of how deeply rooted existential fears manifest in ways that prove both psychologically and physically problematic. We also suggest how future research and social interventions can be employed to help individuals manage basic fears in ways that do not compromise their psychological and physical health.

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More information

Published date: 2005
Keywords: psychological, physical, social, terror management

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 40159
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/40159
PURE UUID: 3792ee8d-407a-4f45-a370-940afd2281c6

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 03 Jul 2006
Last modified: 15 Jul 2019 19:00

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