Scared to death or scared to love? Terror management theory and close relationships seeking
Article first published online: 7 MAR 2006
Copyright © 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
European Journal of Social Psychology
Volume 36, Issue 2, pages 279–296, March/April 2006
How to Cite
Śmieja, M., Kałaska, M. and Adamczyk, M. (2006), Scared to death or scared to love? Terror management theory and close relationships seeking. Eur. J. Soc. Psychol., 36: 279–296. doi: 10.1002/ejsp.301
- Issue published online: 7 MAR 2006
- Article first published online: 7 MAR 2006
- Manuscript Accepted: 10 JUN 2005
- Manuscript Received: 3 FEB 2004
To cope with paralyzing terror awakened by thoughts of their own death people usually use two defense mechanisms: cultural worldview and self-esteem. Recent studies suggest that also close relationships may function as a death anxiety buffer. The present research explores this phenomenon in an experimental paradigm. One hundred sixteen undergraduates completed a self-esteem scale, attachment scale, and a scale tapping ideal mate characteristics. After experimental manipulation each participant talked shortly with six unknown students of the opposite sex and rated their attractiveness. The results showed no effect of self-esteem either in the experimental or control condition. As for the attachment styles, we obtained significant interaction of avoidance and condition (non-avoidant participants were more favorable under mortality salience), and simple effect of anxiety (anxious participants increased the assessments regardless of the condition). Both effects were short-term and affected only the assessments of the first date. Copyright © 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.