Ukraine War Confirms Important Psychological Theory

Real-life study on "Terror Management Theory" in the war zone of Ukraine. Karl Landsteiner University of Health Sciences shows effects of war on mental health, somatic symptoms and well-being.
By: KL Krems
KREMS, Austria - Nov. 29, 2023 - PRLog -- A theoretical concept of how people deal with the certainty of their mortality (Terror Management Theory ­ TMT) has now been evaluated with data from an acute war zone. Hundreds of people from war zones in Ukraine provided personal data on their reactions to air alarms, explosions, power and water shortages and other war-related stress situations. The now published real-life data, which was analyzed at the Karl Landsteiner University for Health Sciences (KL Krems) in Austria, among others, confirms important aspects of TMT. However, it was also found that mitigating the effects of war experiences through a resilient personality or habituation was not as pronounced as theoretically assumed.

The awareness of their finiteness frightens people and determines many of their actions. The Terror Management Theory (TMT – in which "terror" means the fear of one's own death) is based on this fundamental assumption. It states that the awareness of one's own mortality triggers anxiety and influences general well-being. Further assumptions are that personal traits (e.g. strong self-esteem) or circumstances (habituation) mitigate these psychological effects. Almost all studies evaluating TMT to date have been conducted experimentally by encouraging subjects to confront their mortality. Genuine real-life data was largely lacking. A team from the Department of Psychology and Psychodynamics at KL Krems, Division of Psychological Methodology has now changed this with colleagues from Salzburg (Austria) and Kiev (Ukraine) and published the results in Frontiers in Psychiatry.

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Prof. Stefan Stieger

Department Psychology and Psychodynamics

Karl Landsteiner University of Health Sciences

Dr.-Karl-Dorrek-Straße 30

3500 Krems / Austria

T +43 2732 720 90 301


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