Existential function of babies: Babies as a buffer of death-related anxiety

Xinyue Zhou, Qijia Lei, Scott Marley, Jinsong Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

21 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The present study examined babies as death anxiety buffers with Chinese participants in three experiments. In Experiment 1, death-related thoughts increased college-aged participants' interest in human babies. In Experiment 2, images of newborn animals reduced the number of death-related thoughts recorded by college-aged participants. In Experiment 3, female factory workers who read news articles describing deaths of babies had pessimistic estimations of their own life expectancies. An explanation of these results is provided within a terror management theory framework, with a primary focus on how babies reinforce cultural worldviews and enhance self-esteem via the notion of symbolic immortality. Thus, the anxiety-buffering function of baby is subsumed under cultural worldviews validation and self-esteem enhancement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)40-46
Number of pages7
JournalAsian Journal of Social Psychology
Volume12
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2009
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

baby
Buffers
Anxiety
anxiety
death
Self Concept
experiment
worldview
self-esteem
Newborn Animals
Life Expectancy
life expectancy
factory
terrorism
news
animal
worker
management

Keywords

  • Baby
  • Coping mechanism
  • Mortality salience
  • Terror management theory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Social Sciences(all)

Cite this

Existential function of babies : Babies as a buffer of death-related anxiety. / Zhou, Xinyue; Lei, Qijia; Marley, Scott; Chen, Jinsong.

In: Asian Journal of Social Psychology, Vol. 12, No. 1, 03.2009, p. 40-46.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Zhou, Xinyue ; Lei, Qijia ; Marley, Scott ; Chen, Jinsong. / Existential function of babies : Babies as a buffer of death-related anxiety. In: Asian Journal of Social Psychology. 2009 ; Vol. 12, No. 1. pp. 40-46.
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