Freedom vs. Fear: On the Defense, Growth, and Expansion of the Self

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Book Chapter

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self-determination theory, terror management theory, self, freedom, fear


The authors believe that by specifying how the defense motives emphasized by terror management theory (TMT) and the acquisitive motives emphasized by self-determination theory (SDT) interact, a more comprehensive and well-rounded understanding of human behavior can be achieved. Although these 2 motive systems operate according to different principles, and sometimes orient the individual toward different goals, human behavior results from the dialectic interplay between them. To elucidate this interplay, the authors outline the conceptualization of the workings of these 2 systems, consider how each system can facilitate and interfere with the other, and discuss ways in which defensive needs can be served while allowing the individuals to optimize their creative potential and freedom.

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Citation / Publisher Attribution

Freedom vs. Fear: On the Defense, Growth, and Expansion of the Self, in M. R. Leary & J. P. Tangeny (Eds.), Handbook of Self and Identity, Guilford Press, p. 314-343