The Body Stripped Down: An Existential Account of the Threat Posed by the Physical Body
mortality salience, creatureliness, sexuality, appearance, disgust
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
According to terror management theory, cultural beliefs and standards provide protection from fears associated with mortality by convincing individuals that their existence matters more than that of any mere mortal animal. The body threatens the efficacy of such mechanisms by reminding us that we are animals nonetheless, and therefore fated to death. I present research demonstrating that existential concerns contribute to uneasiness with the body, especially regarding sex, and also to pervasive concerns with how the body measures up to cultural standards, most obviously regarding women's appearance. These findings show that in effort to defend against threats associated with the body's physicality, people may deny themselves pleasure and endanger their health.
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Citation / Publisher Attribution
Current Directions in Psychological Science, v. 14, issue 4, p. 224-228
Scholar Commons Citation
Goldenberg, Jamie L., "The Body Stripped Down: An Existential Account of the Threat Posed by the Physical Body" (2005). Psychology Faculty Publications. 1508.