Date of Award

2011

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Psychology

Abstract

Past research concerning Terror Management Theory (TMT) has displayed self-esteem bolstering and cultural worldview validation to be the foundation of subconscious defense mechanisms against mortality salience (Solomon, Greenberg, & Pyszczynski, 1991). Recent studies have also identified intimacy and romantic commitment as form of such defense (Florian, Mikulincer & Hirschberger, 2002). The present study examines the effects of existential terror on people's intimacy-related milestone time frames, as well as the distinction between naturally occurring mortality salience (in a sample of soldiers) and the more standard form of laboratory induced mortality salience. It was hypothesized

that employees of high-risk fields will have a significantly greater death-thought accessability than members of the general population, and will significantly differ in the likeliness of placing the accomplishment of life milestones associated with intimacy at the top of their priorities list, time-wise. It was further hypothesized that students who recieve the death-thought prime will have a significantly greater death-thought accessability, and will significantly differ in the likeliness of placing accomplishments of

life milestones associated with intimacy at the top of their priorities list, than undergraduates not primed with mortality salience. Data suggests that high-risk employees have significantly higher levels of death-thought accessibility naturally, as compared to laboratory induced levels, and that mortality salience cauases individuals to

desire earlier completion of intimacy related milestones.

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Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

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