APPLICABILITY OF TERROR MANAGEMENT THEORY IN BULGARIA
Djourov, D.B., Hitotsubashi University, Japan
4 There are numerous studies that confirm the propositions of Terror Management Theory (TMT; Greenberg, Pyszczynski, & Solomon, 1986) concerning the anxiety-buffering function of self-esteem and defence of the cultural worldview following mortality salience (MS). Two studies were conducted to assess the applicability of TMT in Bulgaria. In each study, mortality salience was manipulated with two open-ended questions connected to death. Participants in the control group answered questions about watching TV. Based on Rosenberg's scale, participants were divided into two groups: high or low self-esteem. They evaluated someone who expressed opinion on Bulgaria and Bulgarian culture. In Study 1, participants evaluated someone who criticized their cultural worldview. As hypothesized, following MS, they exhibited a more negative reaction to the critic than participants in the control group. Bulgarian individuals, who are reminded of their death, would try defending their cultural worldview. In Study 2, a favourable commentator was evaluated and the hypothesis that mortality salience increases the need for consensual validation was tested. The results, however, showed that MS manipulation failed to promote a higher evaluation of someone who was favourable to Bulgarian participants' cultural worldview. The studies found that participants in MS condition did not exhibit a raise in negative or positive affect. A high-low trait self- esteem distinction failed to determine the effect of self-esteem on buffering anxiety. The role of stability of self-esteem on anxiety buffering is discussed. Evidence that Terror Management Theory is applicable in Bulgaria was obtained.