The effects of relationship commitment and gender on death– anxiety among turkish young adults: a terror management theory perspective

Thesis Type: Postgraduate

Institution Of The Thesis: Middle East Technical University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Department of Psychology, Turkey

Approval Date: 2011

Thesis Language: English

Student: Başak Dalda



The aim of this study was to examine whether and how being committed to a close romantic relationship and gender would affect Turkish young adults’ death-anxiety. Based on Terror Management Theory (TMT), it was hypothesized that participants who are exposed to separation thoughts from a relationship partner would experience more death–anxiety than participants who are not exposed to separation thoughts from their relationship partners. In this respect, it was also hypothesized that high commitment to the relationship partner would work as a buffer against death-anxiety and those who have higher commitment to their relationship partners would, therefore, experience less death anxiety than those who have lower commitment to their relationship partners. It was also aimed to investigate whether the effects of commitment to close romantic relationships differ between genders. The effect of neuroticism was also controlled for all participants, so that any difference that is observed between groups would not be due to the effects of neuroticism. One-hundred sixty one participants (age range = 19-38) from Ankara, İstanbul, and İzmir, Turkey were included in this study. Results suggested no significant main effects of experimental manipulation (i.e. experimental group, control group), commitment level (i.e. high, low) or gender (i.e. female, male) on death-anxiety. A significant interaction effect between commitment level and experimental manipulation was found. According to that, in the experimental group (those who were asked to imagine a separation from their relationship partners) participants with high commitment level were found to experience less death–anxiety than participants with low commitment level. Also, it was revealed that those who have low commitment to their relationship partners experience more death- anxiety when they were asked to imagine a separation from their relationship partners than when they were not asked to imagine such separation. The same increment in death anxiety was not observed in participants who have high commitment to their relationship partners. The strengths, limitations, and implications of the study were discussed in light of related literature.