Death Can Be Hazardous to Your Heath: Adaptive and Ironic Consequences of Defense Against the Terror of Death

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Book Chapter

Publication Date



Adjustment, Death and Dying, Death Anxiety, Death Attitudes, Defense Mechanisms, Health, Mental Health, Theories, Well Being, Consequence

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Explores the effects of the human awareness of mortality on physical and mental health. This exploration culminates in an analysis of both the adaptive and the ironic maladaptive consequences of the psychological defenses people use to manage the terror of death. To lay the groundwork for this analysis, the authors begin with an overview of terror management theory, followed by a general description of a number of research programs an theoretical refinements produced as a result of the initial empirical findings. The authors then examine the implications of this theory and research for the understandings of mental health and physical well-being.

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Citation / Publisher Attribution

Death can be hazardous to your heath: Adaptive and ironic consequences of defense against the terror of death, in P. R. Duberstain & J. M. Masling (Eds.), Empirical Studies of Psychoanalytic Theories. Psychodynamic Perspectives on Sickness and Health, American Psychological Association, p. 201-257