Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name


Organizational Unit

Morgridge College of Education, Counseling Psychology

First Advisor

Patton O. Garriott

Second Advisor

Trisha Raque-Bogdan

Third Advisor

Julia Roncoroni

Fourth Advisor

Michele D. Hanna


Death anxiety, Meaning-making, Mortality salience, Terror management theory, Vocation


Many individuals spend approximately a third of their lives either working, receiving training or education for work or otherwise engaged in their career. While the current literature attempts to discern the many roles that work can play in our lives, it only scantly explore the existential nature of work in relation to death and mortality. Terror Management Theory provides a framework explaining how increases in awareness of our mortality influences our behavior and beliefs. By studying work constructs from the lens of Terror Management Theory, we seek to gain insight on the potential role that work plays in bolstering psychological resilience again existential stressors. We use an experimental design to observe power, work social-connectedness, self-determination, and work meaning as they relate to death anxiety between an experimental and control group. An experimental group received a mortality salience cue while the control group received a benign cue. Death anxiety was negatively correlated with work social-connectedness, self-determination and work meaning, but not perceived socio-economic status. None of the observed work constructs significantly moderated the magnitude of reported death anxiety.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.

Rights Holder

Julian T. Frazier


Received from ProQuest

File Format




File Size

105 p.


Counseling psychology