Death Essay

967 words - 4 pages

Death is an inescapable event in human life. Human beings, to a certain extent, are afraid of the unpredictable and inevitable death issues and deadly threats. Reason behind the anxiety is due to the difficulty to find a definitive answer of a question on life and death (Becker, 1973). We aware their ultimate fate of nonexistence and deaths often occurs uncontrollably. In order to explain the death anxiety, terror management theory (TMT) was developed to help to answer the human’s psychological reaction on the existential terror of mortality issue (Greenberg, Pyszczynski, & Solomon, 1986; Pyszczynski, Greenberg & Solomon, 1999).
According to TMT, self-esteem is a defensive motivation in tackling the everyday life threats. It is a subjective concept that individual is being a valuable part in the world. Human animals obtain self-esteem mainly from their individual belief on cultural worldview – symbolic perception on the society shared by groups of people (Greenberg & Solomon, 1999). Individuals believed that their own set of cultural worldview is the only true value in the society. They feel that they are the valuable units engaging in the culture worldview and hence the perceptual construction maintains self-esteem of one self as well as providing defensive function to the death anxiety. Since self-esteem is derived from a strong perception on conceptual belief, it is able to serve as a psychological buffer that protects people against the awareness and negative feelings towards death (Greenberg, Pyszczynski, & Solomon, 1995). It is strong enough to shield people’s anxiety from death reminders (i.e. mortality salience). When there is mortality salience, people enhance their self-esteem as a defensive reaction against the death anxiety. High self-esteem helps people restore their value of existence against the fear of death. Sense of cultural worldviews and individual belief forms high self-esteem in order to defend against the vulnerable thoughts of mortality. TMT emphasizes the role of self-esteem in providing meaning to the existence and security of threatening (Greenberg et al., 1986).
Research studies of TMT rely on explicit self-report measurement, like Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale (Rosenberg, 1965), to measure the level of self-esteem and there is a wide range of statistical evidence to confirm the anxiety buffer effect of explicit self-esteem on mortality salience (Burke, Martens, & Faucher, 2010). However, scholars argued that that it is also crucial to assess the automatic and implicit concepts about the self on the function of anxiety buffer (Hetts, Sakuma, & Pelham, 1999; Greenwald & Banaji, 1995). According to Greenwarld & Banaji (1995), implicit self-esteem is defined as an automatic, introspective and unconscious evaluation of the self that guides spontaneous reactions to self-relevant stimuli. The rising awareness of implicit self-esteem has applied to the TMT in the recent research. The research project of the theory started...

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