Effects of Self-Esteem and Mortality Salience on Attitudes Toward Canadian Security – Exploring the Significance of Implicit-Explicit and Personal-Collective Distinctions

Les effets de l’estime de soi et de la prégnance de la mort sur les attitudes à l’égard de la sécurité canadienne – Analyse de l’importance des distinctions entre implicite et explicite d’une part et entre personnel et collectif d’autre part


  1. Filardo, E-A.
  2. Mandel, D.R.
  3. Vartanian, O.
Corporate Authors
Defence R&D Canada - Toronto, Toronto ONT (CAN)
Terror Management Theory (TMT) proposes that, due to the unique ability of humans to understand that life is finite, we have developed buffers against the anxiety of such a potentially devastating awareness. These buffers include an adherence to a meaningful cultural worldview and a secure sense of self-esteem. To date, TMT research has focused almost exclusively on personal mortality salience (MS); however, the present study aimed to understand the implications of threats made to the source of one’s anxiety buffer by creating a collective MS threat. Furthermore, the current study attempted to assess the impact of MS on personal beliefs about one’s own and others’ commitment to Canada, as well as domestic and foreign policies in situations where their Canadian identity was either primed or not. Civilian participants (N = 123) completed measures of implicit and explicit personal and collective self-esteem, were exposed to one of three MS conditions (control, personal MS, or collective MS) and one of two prime conditions (Canadian flag present or absent). While the Canadian identity prime had no impact on commitment to Canada or attitudes towards Canadian security, personal MS interacted with both implicit and explicit personal self-esteem in its impact on personal commitment towards Canada and beliefs about the others’ obligations towards Canada. The effects of the collective MS condition combined with implicit and explicit collective self-esteem also influenced person

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Terror Management Theory;mortality salience;nationalism;attitudes towards Canadian policies;implicit self-esteem;explicit self-esteem;collective
Report Number
DRDC-TORONTO-2010-042 — Technical Report
Date of publication
20 Apr 2011
Number of Pages
Electronic Document(PDF)

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