The Anxiety-Buffering Properties of Cultural and Subcultural Worldviews: Terror Management Processes among Juvenile Delinquents

Lukasz Baka, Romuald Derbis, Molly Maxfield

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

Terror management research indicates that people reminded of mortality strongly affirm values and standards consistent with their cultural worldview and distance themselves from values and standards inconsistent with it. However, limited research has addressed how individuals holding beliefs inconsistent with the dominant worldview cope with death-related anxiety. The present article aims to determine which worldview subcultural groups rely on when reminded of mortality: mainstream or subcultural? Juvenile delinquents living in residential reformatories in Poland were invited to participate in a terror management study examining the anxiety-buffering strategies of individuals belonging to a group largely outside mainstream culture. Following reminders of mortality, juvenile delinquents increased support for values consistent with the mainstream cultural worldview and decreased support for values consistent with the subcultural worldview, as compared to control conditions. The present results suggest that when faced with existential threat, the subcultural worldview does not provide an adequate anxiety buffer, leading members of this subcultural group to display increased identification with mainstream cultural values. Additionally, participants' state anxiety following death reminders was mediated by mainstream cultural worldview defense.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalPolish Psychological Bulletin
Volume43
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2012
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • cultural worldview
  • juvenile delinquents
  • mortality salience
  • terror management theory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)

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