The function of self-esteem in terror management theory and sociometer theory: comment on Pyszczynski et al. (2004).


Journal Article (Review)

By applying different standards of evidence to sociometer theory than to terror management theory (TMT), T. Pyszczynski, J. Greenberg, S. Solomon, J. Arndt, and J. Schimel's (2004) review offers an imbalanced appraisal of the theories' merits. Many of Pyszczynski et al.'s (2004) criticisms of sociometer theory apply equally to TMT. and others are based on misconstruals of the theory or misunderstandings regarding how people respond when rejected. Furthermore, much of their review is only indirectly relevant to TMT's position on the function of self-esteem, and the review fails to acknowledge logical and empirical challenges to TMT. A more balanced review suggests that each theory trumps the other in certain respects, both have difficulty explaining all of the evidence regarding self-esteem, and the propositions of each theory can be roughly translated into the concepts of the other. For these reasons, declaring a theoretical winner at this time is premature.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Leary, MR

Published Date

  • May 2004

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 130 / 3

Start / End Page

  • 478 - 482

PubMed ID

  • 15122933

Pubmed Central ID

  • 15122933

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1939-1455

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0033-2909

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1037/0033-2909.130.3.478


  • eng