Handbook of Terror Management Theory

Handbook of Terror Management Theory

1st Edition - November 10, 2018

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  • Editors: Clay Routledge, Matthew Vess
  • Paperback ISBN: 9780128118443
  • eBook ISBN: 9780128118450

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Handbook of Terror Management Theory provides an overview of Terror Management Theory (TMT), including critical research derived from the theory, recent research that has expanded and refined the theory, and the many ways the theory has been utilized to understand domains of human social life. The book uses TMT as a lens to help understand human relationships to nature, cultural worldviews, the self, time, the body, attachment, group identification, religion and faith, creativity, personal growth, and the brain.  The first section reviews theoretical and methodological issues, the second focuses on basic research showing how TMT enhances our understanding of a wide range of phenomena, and the third section, Applications, uses TMT to solve a variety of real world problems across different disciplines and contexts, including health behavior, aging, psychopathology, terrorism, consumerism, the legal system, art and media, risk-taking, and communication theory.  

Key Features

  • Examines the three critical hypotheses behind Terror Management Theory (TMT)
  • Distinguishes proximal and distal responses to death-thoughts
  • Provides a practical toolbox for conducting TMT research
  • Covers the Terror Management Health Model
  • Discusses the neuroscience of fear and anxiety
  • Identifies how fear motivates consumer behavior
  • Relates fear of death to psychopathologies


Students and researchers in social psychology. Also of interest to those in developmental, clinical, counseling, and cognitive psychology

Table of Contents

  • Section 1: Testing the Contours of the Theory
    1. A Consideration of 3 Critical Hypotheses
    2. Distinguishing Proximal and Distal Responses to Death-Thoughts
    3. Controversies and Alternative Theories
    4. TMT Toolbox: A Guide to Doing TMT Research

    Section 2: How TMT Helps us Understand
    5. The Need to Structure the World 
    6. Our Relationship with Nature
    7. The Self
    8. The Self in Time: Nostalgia 
    9. Human Concerns about Sex, the Body, and Animality
    10. Attachment and Romantic Relationships
    11. Group Identification
    12. Religion 
    13. Secular Cultural Worldviews
    14. Affect, Meaning, and Well-Being
    15. Psychological Growth, Creativity, and Exploration
    16. Existential Neuroscience: Terror Management and the Brain

    Section 3: Applications
    17. Health Attitudes and Behavior 
    18. Aging and Coping with Mortality
    19. Psychopathology 
    20. Terrorism, War, and Peace-Making
    21. Consumerism
    22. The Legal System 
    23. Art and Media
    24. Death and Risk Taking
    25. Communication Theory and Terror Management

Product details

  • No. of pages: 648
  • Language: English
  • Copyright: © Academic Press 2018
  • Published: November 10, 2018
  • Imprint: Academic Press
  • Paperback ISBN: 9780128118443
  • eBook ISBN: 9780128118450

About the Editors

Clay Routledge

Dr. Clay Routledge is a behavioral scientist, writer, consultant, and professor of psychology at North Dakota State University. Much of his work focuses on the human need to find and maintain meaning in life . More specifically, using a range of empirical methods, his research examines the underlying cognitive processes involved in meaning-making, the different ways people seek meaning, and how the presence or absence of meaning influences physical and psychological health, self-control, goal pursuit, and social and community engagement. Dr. Routledge has published over 100 academic papers and co-edited three books. He authored the books Nostalgia: A Psychological Resource and Supernatural: Death, Meaning, and the Power of the Invisible World. His research has been funded by the National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, John Templeton Foundation, Society for the Scientific Study of Religion, and Charles Koch Foundation. Dr. Routledge regularly writes for media outlets such as Scientific American, National Review, The Wall Street Journal, and The New York Times. He is also a nonresident scholar for the Baylor Institute for the Studies of Religion and a senior fellow at the Institute for Family Studies. Dr. Routledge frequently serves as a business consultant, public speaker, and guest on popular podcasts and radio and television programs. His work is also regularly featured in diverse media outlets such as The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic, Men’s Health, Variety, Forbes, Vox, Huffington Post, The Guardian, BBC News, CBS News, CBC News, and CNN. You can find out more about Dr. Routledge’s work at clayroutledge.com

Affiliations and Expertise

Department of Psychology, North Dakota State University, Fargo, ND, USA

Matthew Vess

Dr. Matthew Vess is a social psychologist and assistant professor of Psychological Science at Montana State University. His research broadly focuses on the basic processes underlying the pursuit for self-relevant meaning and value. He has published over 25 papers in some of the very best journals in social psychology (e.g., Journal of Personality and Social Psychology), many of which are directly relevant to and/or inspired by TMT. Dr. Vess has also taught graduate level courses on existential experimental psychology and includes a dedication section to TMT in his undergraduate social psychology courses.

Affiliations and Expertise

Montana State University

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