The aim of the present study is to understand how
individuals react to existential threat and the role of self-esteem in these
Death is a
fundamental and a certain fact which is not constructed but exists on its own.
Threats related with death or nonexistence has emotional, behavioral, and
motivational consequences. Koole, Greenberg, and Pyszczynski (2006), suggest
that such an existential threat may cause various concerns including identity,
isolation and meaning which are related to terms of the present study.
Existential threat and its behavioral outcomes are studied in the field of
experimental existential psychology (Koole, et al., 2006). The paradigm of these
studies often includes existential threat and behavioral outcomes in case of
such threat. Existential threat has been explained through Terror Management
Theory and has been found to be associated with variables like meaning in life
(Niemiec, Brown, Kashdan,
Cozzolino, Breen, & Levesque-Bristol, 2010; Abeyta, Routledge, Juhl, & Robinson, 2015; Koole,
Greenberg, & Pyszczynski, 2006; Landau, Kosloff, & Schmeichel, 2011),
social conformity (Renkema, Stapel, & Van Yperen, 2008), mindfulness (Niemiec, et al., 2010; Brown,
Ryan, Creswell, & Niemiec, 2008), worldview, self-esteem (Niemiec, et al., 2010), social exclusion,
identity (Koole, et al., 2006), proenvironmental motivation (Fritsche & Häfner, 2012), and nostalgia (Sedikides, Wildschut, Arndt, & Routledge, 2008). In the
present study, social existential threat, which has a similar meaning with
existential threat but is also different, will be conceptualized to be studied
with diverse variables within the related field. These variables are
self-esteem, self-knowledge, meaning making motive, affiliation motive,
evaluating other people and state affection. The manipulated variable will be
the threat one feels on their social entity, rather than the threat of actual
death which was studied through mortality salience paradigm within the field of
experimental existential psychology. Therefore, both the quality of the threat
and the experimental method of the study is differentiated from past research.
The manipulated variable will be disregard. But before, participants will
complete self-esteem scale attached to e-mail they received. Right after the
manipulation; self definitions, meaning making motive, affiliation motive,
evaluation of other people and state affect will be measured.
The research will be conducted according to literature
of experimental existential psychology, self-psychology and terror management
theory. The findings are expected to provide information about universal and
social motives of existence. The information could lead to an argument how the
existence striving on the social dimension can affect behavior.