The Role Of Religion In Managing Existential Threat: Effects On Outgroup Attitudes
Coursey, Lauren Elizabeth
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The increased worldview defense following mortality salience is a robust finding in terror management theory research. In some cases, this defense can take the form of ingroup favoritism, outgroup bias, and prejudice. I predicted that religious affiliation would attenuate the effects of mortality salience on expressions of prejudice. Specifically, I predicted an interaction between religious affiliation and mortality salience to emerge, such that whereas the religiously non-affiliated will exhibit an increase in prejudice scores following mortality salience, the religiously affiliated will not. I further hypothesized that among religiously affiliated participants, the interaction between MS and affiliation will predict outgroup attitudes differently at different levels of religious ingroup identification strength. Neither hypothesis was supported. The interaction between religion and mortality salience was not significant. One simple effect was significant; under mortality salience, the religiously affiliated rated homosexuals more positively than the non-affiliated. Religious ingroup identification strength did not significantly predict mortality salience reactions. Possible explanations for the null effects, study limitations, and future research directions are discussed.