Applying terror management theory to performance: Can reminding individuals of their mortality increase strength output?

Heather J. Peters, Jeff Greenberg, Jean M. Williams, Nicole R. Schneider

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

37 Scopus citations

Abstract

Motivation plays a key role in successful athletic performance, and terror management theory has emerged as a broad theory of human motivation (e.g., Solomon, Greenberg, & Pyszczynski, 1991) that may have implications for sport and exercise performance. Based on the theory, we tested the hypothesis that a reminder of mortality can motivate improved performance in a task requiring physical strength in individuals invested in strength. Participants demonstrated their strength on a hand dynamometer, then wrote about their own mortality or dental pain, and again squeezed the hand dynamometer. Results indicated that reminders of mortality increased strength performance for individuals invested in strength training (24 F, 31 M), and had no impact on those not invested in strength training (30 F, 28 M), p =. 015. Implications for athletes are briefly discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)111-116
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Sport and Exercise Psychology
Volume27
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2005

Keywords

  • Anxiety
  • Motivation
  • Self-esteem
  • Sport

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology

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