The psychological importance of youth culture. A terror management approach
SourceYouth & Society, 31, (1999), pp. 152-167
Article / Letter to editor
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SW OZ BSI SCP
Youth & Society
SubjectBehaviour Change and Well-being
In the literature, youth culture has been addressed in two distinct ways: the aesthetic approach, which has led to criticism of youth culture, and the empirical approach, in which the functions and benefits of youth culture have been stressed. In this article, Terror Management Theory (TMT) is used to provide a functional approach to youth culture. According to TMT, culture is conceived of as a buffer against the awareness of death. To assess the anxiety-buffering function of youth culture, an experiment was conducted in which awareness of death (mortality salience) was manipulated. In the experimental condition, results showed more extreme evaluations of pro-youth and anti-youth essays and their authors, suggesting that awareness of death increases allegiance to youth culture. Implications of these findings are discussed in light of the nature of youth culture and its relation to larger society.
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