Mild depression, mortality salience, and defense of the worldview: Evidence of intensified terror management in the mildly depressed

Linda Simon, Jeff Greenberg, Eddie Harmon-Jones, Sheldon Solomon, Tom Pyszczynski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Based on a terror management analysis of depression, the authors hypothesized that mildly depressed individuals would engage in especially vigorous worldview defense after mortality salience. Two studies were conducted in which mildly depressed and nondepressed American college students contemplated their own mortality or a neutral topic and then evaluated targets who supported or threatened aspects of their worldviews. Replicating previous research, subjects who contemplated their own mortality engaged in more defense of the worldview (more positive reactions to worldview supporters and more negative reactions to worldview threateners). Moreover, as predicted, mildly depressed subjects in both studies responded to mortality salience with significantly more worldview defense than did nondepressed subjects. Implications of these results for understanding and treating depression are briefly considered.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)81-90
Number of pages10
JournalPersonality and social psychology bulletin
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1996
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology

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