Existential underpinnings of approach and avoidance of the physical body

Jamie L. Goldenberg, Spee Kosloff, Jeff L Greenberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

In addition to enjoying pleasurable bodily activities, people appear threatened by the physical aspects of the body; they experience anxiety and inhibitions surrounding sex, eating, bodily appearance and functions. Based on terror management theory, we posit that people are dually motivated to approach the life-affirming properties of the physical body, and to avoid the physical or animalistic aspects of the body because of their association with death. This paper summarizes a substantial body of research, consisting of over twenty empirical studies, that identify personality and situational variables that interact with mortality concerns, moderating approach and avoidance attitudes and behaviors with respect to the physical body. We suggest that this dynamic motivation can go far in explaining the often observed ambivalence toward the body.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)127-134
Number of pages8
JournalMotivation and Emotion
Volume30
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2006

Fingerprint

Avoidance Learning
Personality
Motivation
Anxiety
Eating
Mortality
Research
Inhibition (Psychology)

Keywords

  • Approach/avoidance
  • Mortality salience
  • Physical body
  • Sex

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Social Psychology

Cite this

Existential underpinnings of approach and avoidance of the physical body. / Goldenberg, Jamie L.; Kosloff, Spee; Greenberg, Jeff L.

In: Motivation and Emotion, Vol. 30, No. 2, 06.2006, p. 127-134.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Goldenberg, Jamie L. ; Kosloff, Spee ; Greenberg, Jeff L. / Existential underpinnings of approach and avoidance of the physical body. In: Motivation and Emotion. 2006 ; Vol. 30, No. 2. pp. 127-134.
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