Surviving Trauma: Posttraumatic Growth and Terror Management Theory


  • Avynn La Rose
  • Lilli Shultz


terror management theory, post traumatic growth, trauma, death, posttraumatic growth


Terror Management Theory (TMT) stipulates that by clinging to cultural worldviews, building self-esteem, and fostering relationships, people can distract themselves from our ubiquitous unconscious fear of death. Posttraumatic Growth (PTG) research looks into how individuals often grow and thrive after a traumatic event. The following study aimed to see if TMT had any effect on levels of PTG. One hundred and seventy people participated in this study that investigated the levels of PTG after being exposed to either death reminders or dental pain. Death responses of people with trauma compared to those who did not have trauma were also measured. We hypothesized that those reminded of their death would express higher PTG. Whereas no direct effect was found, we did uncover significant findings for people with trauma regarding fear, legacy, and disempowerment.






Social Sciences