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Being present in the face of existential threat: The role of trait mindfulness in reducing defensive responses to mortality salience

Niemiec, CP and Brown, KW and Kashdan, TB and Cozzolino, PJ and Breen, WE and Levesque-Bristol, C and Ryan, RM (2010) 'Being present in the face of existential threat: The role of trait mindfulness in reducing defensive responses to mortality salience.' Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 99 (2). 344 - 365. ISSN 0022-3514

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Abstract

Terror management theory posits that people tend to respond defensively to reminders of death, including worldview defense, self-esteem striving, and suppression of death thoughts. Seven experiments examined whether trait mindfulness-a disposition characterized by receptive attention to present experience-reduced defensive responses to mortality salience (MS). Under MS, less mindful individuals showed higher worldview defense (Studies 1-3) and self-esteem striving (Study 5), yet more mindful individuals did not defend a constellation of values theoretically associated with mindfulness (Study 4). To explain these findings through proximal defense processes, Study 6 showed that more mindful individuals wrote about their death for a longer period of time, which partially mediated the inverse association between trait mindfulness and worldview defense. Study 7 demonstrated that trait mindfulness predicted less suppression of death thoughts immediately following MS. The discussion highlights the relevance of mindfulness to theories that emphasize the nature of conscious processing in understanding responses to threat. © 2010 American Psychological Association.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions: Faculty of Science and Health > Psychology, Department of
Depositing User: Jim Jamieson
Date Deposited: 29 Nov 2011 12:01
Last Modified: 22 Jan 2019 20:15
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/1648

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