Who Uses Groups to Transcend the Limits of the Individual Self? Exploring the Effects of Interdependent Self-Construal and Mortality Salience on Investment in Social Groups


Terror management theory posits that people identify with and invest in culturally derived social groups, in part, to attach the self to something more permanent than one's physical existence. Accordingly, research demonstrates that reminders of mortality (mortality salience) increase investment in culturally derived in-groups. The current research extends this analysis by examining whether amplified in-group investment following mortality salience is primarily characteristic of people who define the self in terms of social groups (interdependent self-construal). Three studies provided support for this assertion. Mortality salience increased: identification with one's nation among Chinese (high interdependence culture) but not American (low interdependence culture) participants (Study 1); positivity toward one's university for students with high, but not low, interdependent self-construal (Study 2); and willingness to self-sacrifice for one's religious group among participants induced to adopt an interdependent (vs. independent) self-construal (Study 3). © The Author(s) 2012.

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attitudes, culture and self, interdependence, mortality salience, terror management

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Journal Title

Social Psychological and Personality Science