Volume 13

The Effects of Existential Anxiety on Personal Fulfillment

Flavia Macri Pacheco and Aja Moore

In our society, a successful life is often measured by wealth and material acquisition, yet some individuals place a greater value on personal growth and finding meaning in life. This study was designed to examine the effects of mortality salience and control-orientation on aspirations in life and self-actualization. One hundred and fourteen participants read a paragraph depicting either biological or symbolic immortality aspects of death. Participants completed causality orientations, self-actualization and self-esteem scales, and a pre-and-post mortality salience assessment of aspirations in life. Results indicated that high control-oriented participants reported higher extrinsic aspirations in both mortality salience conditions. Results also showed no significant relationships between self-actualization, mortality salience and control-orientation. These findings suggest that control-orientation is a better predictor for aspirations in life than mortality salience, and that self-actualization is a stable trait that is unaffected by existential anxiety and control orientation..

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