The body as a source of self-esteem: The effect of mortality salience on identification with one's body, interest in sex, and appearance monitoring

Jamie L. Goldenberg, Shannon K. McCoy, Tom Pyszczynski, Jeff Greenberg, Sheldon Solomon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

145 Scopus citations

Abstract

The present research investigated the role of the physical body as a source of self-esteem and tested the hypothesis derived from terror management theory that reminding people of their mortality increases self-esteem striving in the form of identification with one's body, interest in sex, and appearance monitoring. The results revealed that individuals high in body esteem responded to mortality salience manipulations with increased identification with their physical bodies in Study 1 and with increased interest in sex in Study 2. Study 3 showed that reminders of death led to decreased appearance monitoring among appearance-oriented participants who were low in body esteem. These findings provide insight into why people often go to extreme lengths to meet cultural standards for the body and its appearance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)118-130
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Personality and Social Psychology
Volume79
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2000
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science

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