The Handbook of Theories of Social Psychology is an essential resource for researchers and students of social psychology and related disciplines.

Terror Management Theory

Terror Management Theory

Terror management theory
JeffGreenberg and JamieArndt


Terror management theory was developed to explain the motivational underpinnings of phenomena such as self-esteem defense and prejudice. The theory is rooted in a long tradition of thought regarding human awareness of death and its role in psychological functioning. The theory posits that to manage the potential for terror engendered by the awareness of mortality, humans sustain faith in worldviews which provide a sense that they are significant beings in an enduring, meaningful world rather than mere material animals fated only to obliteration upon death. The theory is supported by a wide range of studies showing that self-esteem and worldviews provide protection against anxiety and death-related cognition, reminders of mortality instigate worldview bolstering and self-esteem striving, and threats ...

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