How would religion and a life event carrying an existential threat (LEET) jointly impact a person's life goals of becoming wealthy and successful in one's career? Goal reprioritisation, socioemotional selectivity, and gerotranscendence theories predict a shift away from material goals following a LEET, independent of the effect of religion. However, terror management theory (TMT) predicts that the effect of death thoughts depends on one's prevailing cultural values. As religion can be regarded as a culture, it is possible that Christians' and non-believers' material life goals would be differentially altered by LEET. Data from 1259 young Chinese adults reveal no main effect of LEET, but a strong effect of religion. Moreover, there was an interaction effect between LEET and religion on material life goals: LEET weakened material goals for Christians but not for non-believers. These findings suggest that TMT is more suitable than the other theories for predicting life goal changes. Copyright © 2012 Taylor & Francis.
CitationHui, C. H., Chan, S. W. Y., Lau, E. Y. Y., Cheung, S., & Mok, D. S. Y. (2014). The role of religion in moderating the impact of life events on material life goals: some evidence in support of terror management theory. Mental Health, Religion, & Culture, 17(1), 52-61. doi: 10.1080/13674676.2012.745494.
- Existential threat
- Life event
- Life goal
- Terror management theory