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Hopelessly Mortal: The Role of Mortality Salience, Immortality and Trait Self-esteem in Personal Hope

Wisman, Arnaud, Heflick, Nathan A (2015) Hopelessly Mortal: The Role of Mortality Salience, Immortality and Trait Self-esteem in Personal Hope. Cognition and Emotion, . 0-0. ISSN 1464-0600. (doi:10.1080/02699931.2015.1031643)

Abstract

Do people lose hope when thinking about death? Based on Terror Management Theory, we predicted that thoughts of death (i.e., mortality salience) would reduce personal hope for people low, but not high, in self-esteem, and that this reduction in hope would be ameliorated by promises of immortality. In Studies 1 and 2, mortality salience reduced personal hope for people low in self-esteem, but not for people high in self-esteem. In Study 3, mortality salience reduced hope for people low in self-esteem when they read an argument that there is no afterlife, but not when they read “evidence” supporting life after death. In Study 4, this effect was replicated with an essay affirming scientific medical advances that promise immortality. Together, these findings uniquely demonstrate that thoughts of mortality interact with trait self-esteem to cause changes in personal hope, and that literal immortality beliefs can aid psychological adjustment when thinking about death. Implications for understanding personal hope, trait self-esteem, afterlife beliefs and terror management are discussed.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1080/02699931.2015.1031643
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Psychology
Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Psychology > Social Psychology
Depositing User: Arnaud Wisman
Date Deposited: 28 May 2015 12:06 UTC
Last Modified: 29 May 2019 14:36 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/48673 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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