MORTALITY SALIENCE AND SYMBOLS OF CULTURAL WORLDVIEW AFFECT THE DESIRABILITY OF A STRESSFUL JOB: THE IRONIC CONSEQUENCES OF TERROR MANAGEMENT1

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Abstract

In a study of terror management theory, participants first responded to prompts asking them to imagine their own death or dental pain and later rated the desirability of a generic job described explicitly as extremely stressful. The job description included either an American or foreign company logo. As predicted by terror management theory, the participants shown an American logo ironically desired the stressful job more, having been prompted with reminders of death than with reminders of dental pain. This study is the first to examine terror management theory's prediction of the influence of symbols of cultural worldview on health-related decisions. The authors discuss possible implications of the findings for making unintentionally stress-inducing decisions and for public health campaigns.

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