Date of Award

Summer 2012

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Department of Graduate Psychology

Advisor(s)

Gregg Henriques

Craig N. Shealy

Elena Savina

Abstract

The purpose of this this study was to expand our knowledge of the ways in which people defend their worldviews under conditions of threat. Within the framework of Terror Management Theory (TMT), mortality salience (MS) in individualistic and collectivist cultures was investigated. Specifically, this study sought to directly examine MS effects as they relate to personal mortality and collective mortality. To accomplish this analysis, a 2 (Country: Russia and the U.S.) X 3 (Condition: Personal Mortality Salience, Collective Mortality Salience, and Control) design was employed. The current study consisted of undergraduate student participants from two cultures: U.S. and Russia. The overall sample consisted of 308 participants, consisting of 100 males and 208 females (M = 19.44 years, SD = 2.19; academic level M = 2.14, SD = 1.15). The design of the study followed a typical experimental TMT procedure. The Personal Mortality Salience condition included an MS induction where participants were asked to describe the thoughts that arise regarding their own death. The delay tasks including assessment of affect, individualism-collectivism, followed by the worldview defense measure (author evaluations of pro and anti-nationalistic essays). The Control condition differed only in induction which asked participants to imagine a visit to a dentist’s office. An addition to the typical procedure, a third condition Collective Mortality Salience, was included to assess potential for differences in Personal (typical) or Collective Mortality Salience compared to controls in individualistic and collectivistic cultures. The findings yielded no significant results between the three conditions. Discussion of results including limitations and future directions for research are examined.

Included in

Psychology Commons

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