Death, Extraversion, Commitment, and Sex: A Study on Terror Management

by Jalaal Madyun
Psychology
Faculty advisor: Dr. Wind Goodfriend

Past research concerning how mortality affects both relationship commitment and the desire to engage in risky sexual behaviors has been conducted (Taubman-Ben-Ari, 2004). Several studies have found that under mortality salience, the desire for intimate relationships and the desire for sex are related (Hirschberger, Florian, & Mikulincer, 2002; Taubman-Ben-Ari, 2004). In addition to replication of past experiments, the current study introduces the extravert personality trait. The current study will examine the relationship between individuals with different levels of extraversion, the desire for commitment to a romantic partner, and the desire to engage in risky sexual behaviors when mortality is salient. Participants completed surveys that measured extraversion (Eysenck & Eysenck, 1975), self esteem (Rosenberg, 1965), relationship commitment (Rusbult, Martz, & Agnew, 1998) and the desire to engage in risky sexual behaviors (Taubman, 2004). It was expected that relationship commitment and the desire to engage in risky sexual behavior will be greater in the mortality salience condition than in the control condition. However, an order effect was also expected: If participants completed the commitment scale first, their desire to engage in risky sexual behavior would decrease. Implications for social crises and how they affect relationships are discussed.