This study examined, from a Terror Management Theory (TMT) perspective, the effects of death reminders on the tendency to take risks in diving. All participants (N = 124) completed Rosenberg’s self-esteem scale and a diving related self-efficacy questionnaire. Then half of them were exposed to a mortality salience induction and the other half to the control condition. The dependent variable was self-reported intentions to take risks in diving. Findings showed that mortality salience led to greater willingness to take risks in diving vs. control condition, but only among divers with low self-esteem and low diving related self-efficacy. In addition, mortality salience led to less willingness to take risks in diving vs. the control condition only for low self-esteem divers who possessed high diving related self-efficacy. However, no effects were found for high self-esteem persons. The results are discussed in view of the self-enhancing mechanisms proposed by TMT, offering practical implications regarding the need to increase divers’ self-esteem and self-efficacy as a preventive strategy.
Gila Miller and Orit Taubman–Ben-Ari
Heather J. Peters, Jeff Greenberg, Jean M. Williams and Nicole R. Schneider
Motivation plays a key role in successful athletic performance, and terror management theory has emerged as a broad theory of human motivation (e.g., Solomon, Greenberg, & Pyszczynski, 1991) that may have implications for sport and exercise performance. Based on the theory, we tested the hypothesis that a reminder of mortality can motivate improved performance in a task requiring physical strength in individuals invested in strength. Participants demonstrated their strength on a hand dynamometer, then wrote about their own mortality or dental pain, and again squeezed the hand dynamometer. Results indicated that reminders of mortality increased strength performance for individuals invested in strength training (24 F, 31 M), and had no impact on those not invested in strength training (30 F, 28 M), p = .015. Implications for athletes are briefly discussed.
Colin A. Zestcott, Uri Lifshin, Peter Helm and Jeff Greenberg
This research applied insights from terror management theory (TMT; Greenberg, Pyszczynski, & Solomon, 1986) to the world of sport. According to TMT, self-esteem buffers against the potential for death anxiety. Because sport allows people to attain self-esteem, reminders of death may improve performance in sport. In Study 1, a mortality salience induction led to improved performance in a “one-on-one” basketball game. In Study 2, a subtle death prime led to higher scores on a basketball shooting task, which was associated with increased task-related self-esteem. These results may promote our understanding of sport and provide a novel potential way to improve athletic performance.
Duncan Simpson and Lauren P. Elberty
.1177/0145445508317167 Lewis , A.M. ( 2014 ). Terror management theory applied clinically: Implications for existential-integrative psychotherapy . Death Studies, 38 ( 6 ), 412 – 417 . doi:10.1080/07481187.2012.753557 10.1080/07481187.2012.753557 Luthar , S.S. , Cicchetti , D. , & Becker , B. ( 2000 ). The