Graduation Year

2009

Document Type

Thesis

Degree

M.A.

Degree Granting Department

Psychology

Major Professor

Jamie L. Goldenberg, Ph.D.

Keywords

God, Mortality, Feedback, Self-liking, Self-verification

Abstract

Terror management theory posits that self-esteem ultimately protects people from death anxiety. Much research has demonstrated that individuals reminded of death tend to self-enhance. However, more recent research suggests that need for closure and self-esteem might moderate these findings, but no research has directly tested this. It was hypothesized that for people high in self-esteem, mortality salience will not affect self-enhancement. However, for individuals low in self-esteem, it will either increase enhancement (if low in closure) or increase verification (if high in closure). These hypotheses were fully supported using Christian's perceptions of God's love as the dependent variable. Implications for terror management theory, self-verification theory, and religious belief are discussed.

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