Death? Be Proud! The Ironic Effects of Terror Salience on Implicit Self-Esteem
Article first published online: 10 FEB 2009
© 2009 Copyright the Authors. Journal compilation © 2009 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Journal of Applied Social Psychology
Volume 39, Issue 2, pages 494–507, February 2009
How to Cite
Gurari, I., Strube, M. J. and Hetts, J. J. (2009), Death? Be Proud! The Ironic Effects of Terror Salience on Implicit Self-Esteem. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 39: 494–507. doi: 10.1111/j.1559-1816.2008.00448.x
- Issue published online: 10 FEB 2009
- Article first published online: 10 FEB 2009
Using a variety of approaches and an array of methodologies, research has shown that mortality salience enhances people's self-esteem. In line with previous work on terror management theory, the current study tested the hypothesis that when mortality salience is high, implicit self-esteem (ISE) is, paradoxically, more positive than when mortality salience is low. Participants were given an implicit measure of self-evaluation either before or after completion of a series of terrorism-related questions. As predicted, participants who completed the terrorism questionnaire first exhibited significantly more positive ISE than did those who completed it second. Ironically, it seems that implicitly, people may feel better about themselves in the face of terrorist attacks designed to demoralize them.