Dissertation: The Dawning of the Dragon – A Developmentally Focussed Cross-Cultural Study of Terror Management Theory

The Dawning of the Dragon – A Developmentally Focussed Cross-Cultural Study of Terror Management Theory

- in englischer Sprache -

Schriften zur Sozialpsychologie, Band 26

Hamburg 2011, 274 Seiten
ISBN 978-3-8300-5802-1 (Print/eBook)

Acculturation, Adolescents, Akkulturation, Aussiedler, Children, Developmental Psychology, Entwicklungspsychologie, Iingroup Identification, Ingroup Cohesion, Interkulturelle Psychologie, Jugendliche, Kinder, Outgroup Derogation, Psychologie, Sozialspychologie, Survey Study, Terror Management Theory, Türkische Migranten, Turkish Migrants, Uncertainty Theory

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The book focuses on broadening the validity and applicability of Terror Management Theory (TMT); one of today’s most influential psychological theories in intergroup relations. However, until today some aspects have been totally neglected by Terror Management research thereby leaving questions regarding the theory’s validity and applicability unanswered. This book sets out to tackle these issues. It does so by concentrating on three main aspects that are dramatically under-researched in Terror Management research up to now: Firstly, the exploration of the validity of TMT in a ’real world setting’, as opposed to the usual laboratory studies. Secondly, the broadening of the applicability of TMT to societal groups other than those that have been tested up to now – adults belonging to the majority society. Thirdly, the comparison of TMT to similar theoretical approaches.

TMT’s validity in a ’real world setting’ has been explored by testing it in a survey study. Results show that TMT can claim relevance also in a ’real world setting’ although the impact is considerably smaller than in laboratory studies.

The applicability of TMT to other than majority society adults has been broadened by applying TMT to children and adolescents with and without migration background. Therefore, the survey study’s sample consisted of children aged 9-12 and adolescents aged 15-18 that were either native Germans, or alternatively had a Russian or Turkish migration background. This design allowed not only for a comparison of native Germans to migrants but to also for a cross-cultural comparison of two migrant groups. It was found that TMT is similarly valid for natives and for migrants. Additionally, no differences was found between the different migrant groups.

Furthermore, TMT’s validity was explored by comparing it to two similar theoretical approaches: The uncertainty and the lack of control approach. This was done by randomly confronting participants with either a mortality salience, an uncertainty, or a lack or control manipulation. Findings show that in contrast to TMT the uncertainty and the lack of control manipulations did not produce significant effects. This results is thus further support for the validity of TMT in contrast to other theoretical approaches and stands in contrast to some other, earlier research findings.



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