Queer terror management: Theory, test and indicators towards a psychosocial intervention in gender stereotypes via death attitudes


Stiller, Mel


Di Masso Tarditi, Andrés


Di Masso Tarditi, Andrés

Date of defense



222 p.


Universitat de Barcelona. Departament de Psicologia Social i Psicologia Quantitativa


Guided by the value of equal opportunities, the present thesis strives to provide indicators for psychosocial intervention that contribute to the eradication of gender stereotypes. For this purpose, a novel theory is proposed and tested. In a frrst article, possible precursors and dynamics of gender stereotypes are reviewed. As a result, one precursor of gender stereotypes is detected in the management of death anxiety. Death attitudes, especially death acceptance, are hence to be tackled for radical intervention in gender stereotypes. After a review of the gender concept's fragmentary application in current research, the dynamics of gender are examined from a queer perspective. As a consequence, gender as a generic term includes prescriptions for bodily traits (sex), psychological traits (gender as a specific term) and for relational traits (desire) in this thesis. In conclusion, queer terror management theory (Q1MT) is proposed as a novel framework for psychosocial intervention in gender stereotypes. The second article puts the theory to an initial test. The first QTMT hypothesis assumed sex, gender and desire as factors of a queer gender construct. Despite a tendency of most associations to confirm the expectation, the given sample size and measures resulted as insufficient to test the assumption. Therefore, the frrst hypothesis could not yet be corroborated. The second QTMT hypothesis assumed a reducing effect of death acceptance on gender stereotypes. Since hypothesis 1 was not confirmed, stereotypes on sex, gender and desire were considered separately. Data for death acceptance yielded ambivalent results. On an implicit level, stereotypes for gendered trait ascription slightly diminished with higher death acceptance. However, explicit death acceptance increased ambivalent sexism towards women. Both associations were weak. Covariate analysis yielded stronger associations between the death acceptance precursor of implicit death valence and implicit stereotypes on sex, gender and desire. No explicit measure for death valence was available. A third QTMT hypothesis expected the association between death acceptance and gender stereotypes to be moderated by reminders to one's own mortality (mortality salience). The well-evidenced mortality salience effects did not occur. Results support the idea of a publication bias in mortality salience research. Throughout the present research, personal well-being was considered as a possible covariate in order to ensure participants' integrity in future interventions. Findings of the second article indicate that death denial increased fear of death and lowered self-esteem. By contrast, death acceptance was associated with higher self-esteem, more positive affect and increased life satisfaction. Quantitative results of the second article raised questions about people's emotional reactions to death reminders in regards to death valence and terror management strategies. These questions were addressed by a third article with a mixed method design. Results revealed complex emotional reactions to death reminders beyond the mortality salience expectation of exclusive death denial. Death denial was associated with negative death valence. By contrast, positive death valence was associated with more conscious death fear, but with less implicit death anxiety. In an interrelation of research findings and theories, a revised ontology for terror management strategies is proposed. The review of terror management processes was necessary to explain the previous results of the present research and further studies. Death valence may be an alternative explanation for mortality salience effects. More importantly though, an in-depth understanding of terror management processes detects the starting points for psychosocial intervention in gender stereotypes. In conclusion, death valence rather than death acceptance or mortality salience resulted as a tangible indicator for radical intervention in gender stereotypes. The queer gender concept, death valence concepts and measures, as well as the test of death valence as an alternative explanation for mortality salience effects remain an open stage for future research. Finally, implications of the present research for psychosocial intervention in gender stereotypes are discussed. A palliative care perspective is adopted to intervention in gender stereotypes. Beyond conceptual questions, methods for interventions with individuals, groups and towards public policies are suggested.


Teoria queer; Teoría queer; Queer theory; Estereotip (Psicologia); Estereotipo (Psicología); Stereotype (Psychology); Intervenció psicològica; Intervención psicológica; Psychological intervention; Estudis de gènere; Estudios de género; Gender studies; Mort; Muerte; Death; Actitud (Psicologia); Actitud (Psicología); Attitude (Psychology)


159.9 - Psicologia

Knowledge Area

Ciències de la Salut






L'accés als continguts d'aquesta tesi queda condicionat a l'acceptació de les condicions d'ús establertes per la següent llicència Creative Commons: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

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