Terror Management Theory
Published Online: 30 JAN 2010
Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All rights reserved.
Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology
How to Cite
Maxfield, M. and Pyszczynski, T. 2010. Terror Management Theory. Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology. 1–2.
- Published Online: 30 JAN 2010
Terror management theory (TMT) is a social psychological theory of attitudinal and behavioral responses to humans' awareness of their mortality (Greenberg, Pyszczynski, & Solomon, 1986; Solomon, Greenberg, & Pyszczynski, 1991). The theory posits that possessing an awareness of one's own inescapable death creates a uniquely human psychological problem, consequently impacting myriad attitudes and behaviors. Although there are many potential causes of anxiety in the world, the theory suggests that this existential concern differs from other anxiety-provoking events or thoughts in that it is absolutely certain to occur and ultimately entails the end to all other human motives. This makes the management of death-related psychological terror an especially important task for maintaining psychological equanimity.
- cultural worldview;
- mortality salience;
- terror management theory