Jamie Arndt's research while affiliated with University of Missouri and other places

Publications (158)

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Stay-at-home orders issued to combat the growing number of infections during the coronavirus pandemic in 2020 had many psychological consequences for people including elevated stress, anxiety, and difficulty maintaining meaning in their lives. The present studies utilized cross-sectional designs and were conducted to better understand how social me...
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As Native American mascots are discontinued, research is needed to understand the impact on intergroup relations. Such discontinuations may be threatening to some and increase prejudice against Native Americans. In Study 1 ( N = 389), exposure to information about a Native American mascot removal increased punitive judgments against a Native Americ...
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Objective To examine if the relationship between neuroticism and physician avoidance/physician visit concerns are mediated by perceptions that cancer is associated with death (“cancer mortality salience”; CMS) for cancer survivors to inform public health interventions and tailored health communications. Methods Cancer survivors comprised 42.3% of...
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From early 20th century headlines to presidential tweets, immigration is described frequently in terms of waves, floods, and tides. Although usage of this inundation metaphor has been widely documented, its potential influence on immigration attitudes has not been assessed empirically. Building from conceptual metaphor theory’s claim that abstract...
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This entry offers a brief overview of conceptualizations of self‐awareness and their impact on understanding health and health risk behavior. The original objective self‐awareness theory is first presented along with theories it has inspired and implications for understanding self‐regulation. Discussion then focuses on the role of self‐awareness in...
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Objective There has been steady progress in reducing cancer mortality in the United States; however, this progress hasn't been evenly distributed across regions. This paper assesses trends in cancer mortality salience (CMS), that is, agreeing that getting cancer is a death sentence, over time in the United States and examines correlates of CMS. Me...
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Metaphors are frequently used linguistic devices that have the power to clarify ambiguous topics. In turn, a clear and stable self-concept is important to psychological functioning. The current article examines the potential role of self-concept clarity in understanding metaphor usage. Study 1 found that self-concept clarity negatively predicts met...
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White Americans are predicted to soon comprise less than half of the U.S. population. Such demographic changes can affect political attitudes by threatening group status. The present studies built from this literature to examine a process in which information about such demographic shifts can also affect health policy attitudes, in part by increasi...
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This research examines how existential isolation (EI) relates to dimensions of relational attachment. Drawing upon previous research examining the relationship between loneliness and attachment, as well as theorizing in the state-trait EI model, we predicted that EI would be positively associated with insecure attachment, but more associated with a...
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To manage the spread of coronavirus, health entities have urged the public to take preventative measures such as social distancing and handwashing. Yet, many appear reluctant to take these measures. Research is needed to understand factors underlying such reluctance, with the aim of developing targeted health interventions. We identify associating...
Chapter
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The connection between religion and health is well documented, with those who hold religious beliefs and attend religious events often experiencing better health outcomes than those who do not. Yet there is also considerable nuance to this literature. This chapter discusses the theoretical and practical insights that can be leveraged from integrati...
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Widespread messages use metaphoric language and imagery to prompt recipients to interpret health-related concepts in terms of dissimilar, familiar concepts (e.g., “fight the war on cancer”). When do these messages work? According to conceptual metaphor theory, thinking metaphorically involves looking past concepts' superficial differences to identi...
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Fierce public discussion has centered on anti‐Islamic attitudes and tolerance in America and the West more broadly. The present research explored whether the awareness of mortality (a common theme in politics, e.g., war/terrorism, health care, abortion, and so on) and tolerance salience might influence (1) the endorsement of anti‐Islamic attitudes...
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The terror management health model suggests targeting sources of self-esteem or identity, in conjunction with mortality salience, offers a pathway for health behavior promotion. To date, however, experimental evidence has been limited to single time point studies. Two studies assessed whether similar processes impact behavior over time. In Study 1,...
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Background An integration of message framing and sociocultural literature suggests that ethnic health disparities may be reduced by incorporating minority groups’ cultural values into persuasive health messages. Framing messages with metaphors represents one promising strategy for harnessing cultural values to change health outcomes. Still, the eff...
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Health communicators publicize messages that use metaphors to compare abstract health-related concepts to concrete concepts in other domains. Such messages aim to change health attitudes and behavior, but do they work? According to Conceptual Metaphor Theory, metaphors can shape thought by transferring personalized knowledge of a concrete concept t...
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People seem to have a tendency to increase the relative size of self-representational objects. Prior research suggests that motivational factors may fuel that tendency, so the present research built from terror management theory to examine whether existential motivations – engendered by concerns about death – may have similar implications for self-...
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We tested predictions about religiosity and terror management processes in 16 nations. Specifically, we examined weekly variation in Google search volume in each nation for 12 years (all weeks for which data were available). In all 16 nations, higher than usual weekly Google search volume for life-threatening illnesses (cancer, diabetes, and hypert...
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Overexposure to the sun is associated with an increased risk of melanoma and nonmelanoma skin cancer, but indications of improvements in sun protection behavior are poor. Attempts to identify emerging themes in skin cancer control have largely been driven by groups of experts from a single field. In December 2016, 19 experts from various discipline...
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Time seems to speed up as one ages, and it affects how people find meaning in life and plan their future. What creates this perception? We examine the role of “chunking” – mentally bundling individual moments of experience under broad categories. With age, people group experiences into progressively bigger chunks (e.g., work, family). Consequently,...
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This article offers an integrative understanding of the intersection between health and death from the perspective of the terror management health model. After highlighting the potential for health-related situations to elicit concerns about mortality, we turn to the question, how do thoughts of death influence health-related decision making? Acros...
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Three studies examine hypotheses derived from terror management theory to investigate the relationship between mortality concerns and hero identification. Study 1 found reminders of death, followed by a distraction task and a self-prime, led to greater inclusion of heroes in the self. Study 2 found that writing about a personal hero, but not other’...
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Nostalgia, a sentimental longing for one’s past, is an emotion that arises from self-relevant and social memories. Nostalgia functions, in part, to foster self-continuity, that is, a sense of connection between one’s past and one’s present. This article examined, in six experiments, how nostalgia fosters self-continuity and the implications of that...
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This research examines how death reminders impact the valuation of objects of various ages. Building from the existence bias, the longer-is-better effect posits that which exists is good and that which has existed for longer is better. Integrating terror management theory, it was reasoned that mortality reminders fostering a motivation to at least...
Chapter
This chapter reviews extant literature pertaining to the psychological threat of mortality and the implications it has for substance use. By using a terror management health model perspective, such implications are discussed with regards to both the conscious and nonconscious threat of mortality. Conscious thoughts of mortality are argued to engage...
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Nostalgia is a self-conscious, bittersweet but predominantly positive and fundamentally social emotion. It arises from fond memories mixed with yearning about one's childhood, close relationships, or atypically positive events, and it entails a redemption trajectory. It is triggered by a variety of external stimuli or internal states, is prevalent,...
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Despite being derived from the work of cultural anthropologist Ernest Becker and the breadth of research it has inspired, terror management theory (TMT) has yet to programmatically examine a major focus of Becker's writings: the relationship between mortality concerns and heroism. The present research investigates whether mortality reminders motiva...
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Six studies examined the nostalgia-inspiration link and its motivational implications. In Study 1, nostalgia proneness was positively associated with inspiration frequency and intensity. In Studies 2 and 3, the recollection of nostalgic (vs. ordinary) experiences increased both general inspiration and specific inspiration to engage in exploratory a...
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Nostalgia is a resource that functions, in part, as a response to self-discontinuity and a source of self-continuity. We tested and supported this regulatory role of nostalgia in the tradition of establishing a causal chain. In Study 1, we examined the naturalistic association between events precipitating self-discontinuity and nostalgia. Self-disc...
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Objective: To use insights from an integration of the terror management health model and the prototype willingness model to inform and improve nutrition-related behavior using an ecologically valid outcome. Method: Prior to shopping, grocery shoppers were exposed to a reminder of mortality (or pain) and then visualized a healthy (vs. neutral) pr...
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Abstract The terror management health model (TMHM) suggests that when thoughts of death are accessible people become increasingly motivated to bolster their self-esteem relative to their health, because doing so offers psychological protection against mortality concerns. Two studies examined sun protection intentions as a function of mortality remi...
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The potentially detrimental effects of cancer and related treatments on cognitive functioning have emerged as one of the key foci of cancer survivorship research, but little is known about how psychological variables other than depression influence these relationships. To illustrate the potential of social psychological perspectives, we examine how...
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Interfacing the terror management health model with the meaning transfer model, we offer novel hypotheses concerning the effectiveness of celebrity and medical endorsements for consumer products and health behavior decisions. Studies 1 and 2 revealed that, compared with control topic primes, death thoughts in focal attention increased the effective...
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This research examined the proposition that nostalgia is not simply a past-oriented emotion, but its scope extends into the future, and, in particular, a positive future. We adopted a convergent validation approach, using multiple methods to assess the relation between nostalgia and optimism. Study 1 tested whether nostalgic narratives entail trace...
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Research suggests that perceiving cancer as a death sentence is a critical determinant of health care-seeking behaviors. However, there is limited information regarding the prevalence of this perception in the US population. Cross-sectional analysis of data (n = 7674 adults) from the 2007-2008 administration of the nationally representative Health...
Chapter
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This chapter uses the terror management health model to consider how individuals' multilayered systems of meaning can affect health behaviors and decision making. Building on terror management theory, the present analysis suggests terror management efforts rely on the maintenance of a microsystem of meaning (organizing one's world into a coherent,...
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OBJECTIVE: The current research examined how true self-conceptions (who a person believes he/she truly is) influence negative self-relevant emotions in response to shortcomings. METHODS: In Study 1 (N = 83), an internet sample of adults completed a measure of authenticity, reflected on a shortcoming or positive life event, and completed state shame...
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Objectives: According to the terror management health model, conscious thoughts of death motivate productive health behaviours when the targeted behaviour is perceived as an effective route for mitigating the threat and removing death-related thought from focal awareness. The present study thus examined whether messages manipulating the efficacy o...
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Objective: Although fatal consequences of smoking are often highlighted in health communications, the question of how awareness of death affects actual smoking behavior has yet to be addressed. Two experiments informed by the terror management health model were conducted to examine this issue. Previous research suggests that the effects of mortali...
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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...
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Three studies showed that focus on the shared human threat of global climate change can encourage peaceful coexistence and discourage support for war in the face of existential threat. In Study 1, mortality salience (MS) increased Americans’ support for international peace-building after imagining the consequences of global climate change, but not...
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Building on terror management theory, we hypothesized that viewing destroyed buildings would increase death thought accessibility and thereby elicit dogmatic belief and hostile worldview defenses. In Study 1, images of destroyed buildings and deadly terrorist attacks elicited greater death-thought accessibility than images of construction sites or...
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This research tested whether nostalgia serves as a positive resource for the self. In Experiment 1, nostalgia was induced and the accessibility of positive self-attributes was assessed. Participants who thought about a nostalgic experience, relative to those who thought about a positive future experience, evidenced heightened accessibility of posit...
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Building on research suggesting one primary function of religion is the management of death awareness, the present research explored how supernatural beliefs are influenced by the awareness of death, for whom, and how individuals' extant beliefs determine which god(s), if any, are eligible to fulfill that function. In Study 1, death reminders had n...
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In three experiments we tested whether nostalgia bolsters meaning in life relative to two other modes of autobiographical thought: imagining a desired future experience and recalling a positive past experience. In Experiment 1 participants thought about a nostalgic or desired future experience and then completed a presence of meaning scale. Thinkin...
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A common theme among many religions, particularly those with Abrahamic roots, is that humans are separate from the rest of nature. Though empirical support is lacking, such themes do suggest that religiosity may play a role in shaping the ways that people relate to the natural world. The present research used terror management theory to address thi...
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Research derived from terror management theory (TMT) has shown that people's efforts to manage the awareness of death often have deleterious consequences for the individual and society. The present article takes a closer look at the conceptual foundations of TMT and considers some of the more beneficial trajectories of the terror management process...
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Drawing from terror management theory, the present research examined whether people turn to close relationships to manage the awareness of mortality because they serve as a source of perceived regard. Studies 1 and 2 demonstrated that mortality salience (MS) leads people to exaggerate how positively their romantic partners see them and demonstrated...
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Messages highlighting the risk of unhealthy behaviors threaten the self and can prompt a defensive response. From the perspective of self-affirmation theory, affirming an important value in a domain unrelated to the threat can reduce this defensiveness. Integrating terror management and objectification theory, this study examined objectification as...
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This study examined how breast cancer diagnosis influences underlying cognitions and explicit worries about death, and their roles in health-related quality of life (QOL). Forty-two women who underwent surgery for the removal of either a cancerous or benign breast mass indicated their worries about dying and completed measures of death-thought acce...
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Two studies conducted in the aftermath of the Côte d'Ivoire civil war tested the anxiety buffer disruption theory prediction that high war exposure and/or high posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are associated with a disruption in normal anxiety buffering functioning. In line with predictions, Study 1 indicated that mortality salience (as compar...
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Three studies examined how endorsement of self-discovery and self-creation metaphors influences belief in the true self and its use as meaning source. It was hypothesized that discovery metaphors contribute to belief in the true self and bolster the relationship between true self-knowledge and meaning. Study 1 supported the hypothesis that discover...
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Three studies tested the extent to which self-concept clarity mediates the relation between different types of stressful life events and subjective well-being, independently of neuroticism. In Study 1 (N = 292), self-concept clarity fully mediated the relation between stress from various sources (e.g., work, social rejection) and subjective well-be...
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The present research tested the proposition that nostalgia serves an existential function by bolstering a sense of meaning in life. Study 1 found that nostalgia was positively associated with a sense of meaning in life. Study 2 experimentally demonstrated that nostalgia increases a sense of meaning in life. In both studies, the link between nostalg...
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According to the terror management health model, when thoughts of death are non-consciously activated, health decisions should be influenced by identity-relevant motivations. Therefore, in this context, framing a health behavior as a tool to empower the self should increase intentions to engage in the behavior and enhanced feelings of empowerment a...
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The reactivity of state self-esteem has been linked to a number of important psychological outcomes, ranging from general well-being to psychological dysfunction. The present research aimed to identify a cognitive factor underlying state self-esteem reactivity by exploring how construal levels influence the extent to which state self-esteem reacts...
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a b s t r a c t Two functions of nostalgia are consistently documented in the literature: self-positivity and social con-nectedness. These reflect agency and communion, respectively. Such dimensions are polarized no more than in narcissists, who are high in agency and low in communion. In three studies we tested whether high and low narcissists dif...
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The essence of who a person really is has been labeled the "true self," and an emerging area of research suggests that this self-concept plays an important role in the creation of a fulfilling existence. Three studies investigate the role of the subjective feeling that one possesses knowledge of one's true self in meaning in life judgments. Consist...
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From the perspective of terror management theory, awareness of death induces a need for validation of important values. Thus, for women who place a high value on their appearance (e.g., high self-objectifiers), mortality salience should increase positive reactions to objectifying experiences relative to women who do not highly value appearance. Two...
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Previous research has identified economic and political factors that can contribute to the outbreak and the duration of armed conflicts. However, the psychological factors that may play a role in conflict escalation and duration have received less attention. Adopting a psychological perspective, the present study aims to investigate the role of dea...
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Drawing on conceptual metaphor perspectives and embodied cognition theories, we proposed that the intrinsic self-concept–who people think they truly are–is represented metaphorically as a physical entity, and that expressions of the intrinsic self-concept are therefore conceptualized in terms of entity activity. Using an empirical strategy for expe...
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Terror management theory (TMT) highlights the motivational impact of thoughts of death in various aspects of everyday life. Since its inception in 1986, research on TMT has undergone a slight but significant shift from an almost exclusive focus on the manipulation of thoughts of death to a marked increase in studies that measure the accessibility o...
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From the perspective of the terror management health model (TMHM), expectancies as to whether a health behavior is likely to effectively protect one's health (i.e., response efficacy) and whether an individual is optimistic about the outcomes of his or her health risk assessment (i.e., health optimism) should have a more potent influence on health...
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a b s t r a c t Three studies tested and supported the proposition that nostalgia buffers existential threat. All studies measured nostalgia proneness and manipulated death awareness (mortality salience; MS). In Study 1, at low, but not high, levels of nostalgia proneness, participants in the MS condition responded less pos-itively to an identity t...
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Individuals who are low (compared with high) in attachment-related avoidance rely on social bonds to regulate distress, and the authors hypothesized that nostalgia can be a repository of such social connectedness. Studies 1-3 showed a positive association between loneliness and nostalgia when attachment-related avoidance was low, but not when it wa...
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This study used longitudinal data from a nationally representative sample to examine long-term effects of loss on political views. Drawing on terror management theory, it was predicted that individuals would reinforce their political views in response to the loss of relatives or close friends. Results were consistent with this hypothesis, though th...
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In line with terror management theory, this research demonstrates that mortality salience motivated increased support for John McCain in the absence of reminders of compassionate values. However, polls had indicated that Barack Obama was generally perceived as the more compassionate of the two candidates. Thus, when compassionate values were made s...
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Using the terror management health model (J. L. Goldenberg & J. Arndt, 2008), the authors examined tanning outcomes as a function of priming tanning-relevant standards for attractiveness after reminders of death. Study 1 consisted of 101 female college students recruited from a midwestern university; Study 2 consisted of 53 female participants recr...