Optimism, Pessimism, and Terror Management: Evidence That Strategic Optimists Experience DTA Using Incongruent Self-Regulation After Self-esteem Threat

  • Author / Creator
    Faucher, Erik
  • Terror management theory (TMT) has accumulated a large literature over the past two decades, but has yet to examine whether forms of optimism and pessimism serve a terror management function. The present study tested the death thought accessibility (DTA) hypothesis using a general self-esteem threat (participants were told they would have to give an impromptu speech in front of their peers) with social defensive pessimists and strategic optimists. After participants read the speech over, they were given a set of instructions either congruent with the preparation of a defensive pessimist or congruent with the preparation of a strategic optimist. DTA was assessed thereafter. It was predicted that defensive pessimists and strategic optimists would exhibit high DTA when given incongruent instructions relative to congruent instructions. Results showed that defensive pessimists had high levels of DTA in both conditions, whereas strategic optimists had high DTA in only the incongruent instructions condition.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Fall 2010
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Master of Science
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
  • Language
  • Institution
    University of Alberta
  • Degree level
  • Department
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • Dr. Jeff Schimel, Department of Psychology
    • Dr. Takahiko Masuda, Department of Psychology
    • Dr. Kimberly Noels, Department of Psychology
    • Dr. Esther Fujiwara, Department of Psychiatry