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Autobiographical Memories of Survival Threats in Young Adulthood

Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UFE0043790/00001

Material Information

Title: Autobiographical Memories of Survival Threats in Young Adulthood Extending Terror Management Theory
Physical Description: 1 online resource (85 p.)
Language: english
Creator: Gesselman, Amanda
Publisher: University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 2011

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords: childbearing -- evolution -- memory -- procreation -- relationships -- terror
Psychology -- Dissertations, Academic -- UF
Genre: Psychology thesis, M.S.
bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
born-digital   ( sobekcm )
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation

Notes

Abstract: The current study investigated whether recalling autobiographical memories (AMs) of survival threats would lead to increased interest in relationships and procreation in young adults (N = 160). Terror Management Theory (TMT; e.g., Rosenblatt et al., 1989) suggests that anxiety occurs when mortality is salient, and psychological mechanisms allowing one to "live on" after death are activated as anxiety buffers. In line with evolutionary theory, interest in relationships was hypothesized as one such mechanism, as was interest in procreation. Both were expected to increase following a mortality salience induction (compared to control conditions). A novel and more ecologically valid method of mortality salience induction was developed, using AMs of survival threats as a technique. Interest in relationships and procreation was first assessed in an online pretest. At a delayed posttest, participants were randomly assigned to the Survival Threat, Anxiety, or Leisure Condition. AMs of survival threats or academic deadlines were shared, or a leisure activities questionnaire was completed. Following this, we assessed interest in relationships and procreation for a second time. The hypotheses were not supported. Results suggest that while sharing a survival threat AM made mortality salient, no increases in either relationship or procreation interests occurred. Exploratory analyses determined other predictors of young adults' (pretest) interest in relationships and procreation. Relationship status, sexual orientation, religiosity, and future time perspective were identified as predictors. The discussion focuses on methodological, measurement, and sample concerns regarding null findings, in addition to the exploratory results.
General Note: In the series University of Florida Digital Collections.
General Note: Includes vita.
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
Source of Description: Description based on online resource; title from PDF title page.
Source of Description: This bibliographic record is available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The University of Florida Libraries, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Statement of Responsibility: by Amanda Gesselman.
Thesis: Thesis (M.S.)--University of Florida, 2011.
Local: Adviser: Bluck, Susan B.

Record Information

Source Institution: UFRGP
Rights Management: Applicable rights reserved.
Classification: lcc - LD1780 2011
System ID: UFE0043790:00001

Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UFE0043790/00001

Material Information

Title: Autobiographical Memories of Survival Threats in Young Adulthood Extending Terror Management Theory
Physical Description: 1 online resource (85 p.)
Language: english
Creator: Gesselman, Amanda
Publisher: University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 2011

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords: childbearing -- evolution -- memory -- procreation -- relationships -- terror
Psychology -- Dissertations, Academic -- UF
Genre: Psychology thesis, M.S.
bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
born-digital   ( sobekcm )
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation

Notes

Abstract: The current study investigated whether recalling autobiographical memories (AMs) of survival threats would lead to increased interest in relationships and procreation in young adults (N = 160). Terror Management Theory (TMT; e.g., Rosenblatt et al., 1989) suggests that anxiety occurs when mortality is salient, and psychological mechanisms allowing one to "live on" after death are activated as anxiety buffers. In line with evolutionary theory, interest in relationships was hypothesized as one such mechanism, as was interest in procreation. Both were expected to increase following a mortality salience induction (compared to control conditions). A novel and more ecologically valid method of mortality salience induction was developed, using AMs of survival threats as a technique. Interest in relationships and procreation was first assessed in an online pretest. At a delayed posttest, participants were randomly assigned to the Survival Threat, Anxiety, or Leisure Condition. AMs of survival threats or academic deadlines were shared, or a leisure activities questionnaire was completed. Following this, we assessed interest in relationships and procreation for a second time. The hypotheses were not supported. Results suggest that while sharing a survival threat AM made mortality salient, no increases in either relationship or procreation interests occurred. Exploratory analyses determined other predictors of young adults' (pretest) interest in relationships and procreation. Relationship status, sexual orientation, religiosity, and future time perspective were identified as predictors. The discussion focuses on methodological, measurement, and sample concerns regarding null findings, in addition to the exploratory results.
General Note: In the series University of Florida Digital Collections.
General Note: Includes vita.
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
Source of Description: Description based on online resource; title from PDF title page.
Source of Description: This bibliographic record is available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The University of Florida Libraries, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Statement of Responsibility: by Amanda Gesselman.
Thesis: Thesis (M.S.)--University of Florida, 2011.
Local: Adviser: Bluck, Susan B.

Record Information

Source Institution: UFRGP
Rights Management: Applicable rights reserved.
Classification: lcc - LD1780 2011
System ID: UFE0043790:00001


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1 AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL MEMORIES OF SURVIVAL THREATS IN YOUNG ADULTHOOD: EXTENDING TERROR MANAGEMENT THEORY By AMANDA GESSELMAN A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF SCIENCE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2011

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2 2011 Amanda Gesselman

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3 To my mother, for twenty five years of hard work, encouragement, and love

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4 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS I would like to thank Dr. Susan Bluck for her dedication and guidance both to this project and to my development as a researcher. I would also like to thank Dr. Gregory Webster for his creative input, support, and statistical wisdom, and Dr. Jeffrey Farrar for his contributions to this project as my c ommittee member. Finally, I would like to thank my labmates, Burcu and Jacqueline, for their encouragement and insight throughout this process, and the research assistants of the Life Story Lab for their feedback and countless hours of data collection

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5 TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 4 LIST OF TABLES ................................ ................................ ................................ ............ 8 ABSTRACT ................................ ................................ ................................ ..................... 9 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION ................................ ................................ ................................ .... 11 Terror Management Theory: Mechanisms for Anxiety Reduction in the Face of Mortality ................................ ................................ ................................ ............... 13 Investigating the Evolutionary Basis: Incorporating Procreation ............................. 15 Increasing Ecological Validity: Autobiographical Memories of Survival Threats ..... 16 The Functional Approach to Autobiographical Memory ................................ .......... 18 Normative Life Phase for Romantic Partnership Formation and Procreation .......... 20 The Current Study ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 21 2 METHODS ................................ ................................ ................................ .............. 24 Participants ................................ ................................ ................................ ............. 24 Study Design ................................ ................................ ................................ .......... 24 Procedure ................................ ................................ ................................ ............... 25 Measures ................................ ................................ ................................ ................ 28 Background and Control Measures ................................ ................................ .. 28 Demographics ................................ ................................ ............................ 28 Memory measures ................................ ................................ ..................... 28 Measures of Major Interest ................................ ................................ ............... 29 Interest in relationships ................................ ................................ .............. 29 Interest in procreation ................................ ................................ ................ 29 Potential Mediators ................................ ................................ ........................... 30 Anxiety ................................ ................................ ................................ ....... 30 Future time perspective ................................ ................................ ............. 31 Potential Moderators ................................ ................................ ........................ 31 Religiosity ................................ ................................ ................................ ... 31 Self esteem ................................ ................................ ................................ 31 Filler and Manipulation Check Measures ................................ .......................... 32 Pronunciation filler task ................................ ................................ .............. 32 Mortality salience manipulation c hecks ................................ ...................... 32 Anxiety manipulation checks ................................ ................................ ...... 33 3 RESULTS ................................ ................................ ................................ ............... 36 Preliminary Analyses ................................ ................................ .............................. 36

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6 Manipulation Checks ................................ ................................ ............................... 36 Explicit Mortality Salience: Extent to Which Participant Thought They Might Die ................................ ................................ ................................ ................. 37 Implicit Mortality Salience: Accessibility of Death Related Words .................... 37 Anxiety at Time of Event ................................ ................................ ................... 38 Anxiety During Memory Sharing Task ................................ .............................. 39 Verifying Random Assignment ................................ ................................ ................ 39 Religiosity ................................ ................................ ................................ ......... 39 Self Esteem ................................ ................................ ................................ ...... 40 Potential Covariates ................................ ................................ ................................ 40 Order ................................ ................................ ................................ ................ 40 Gender ................................ ................................ ................................ ............. 40 Ethnicity ................................ ................................ ................................ ............ 40 Relationship Status ................................ ................................ .......................... 41 Main Analyses ................................ ................................ ................................ ........ 41 Interest in Relationships ................................ ................................ ................... 41 Interest in Procreation ................................ ................................ ...................... 42 Exploratory Analyses: Identifying Predictors of Interest in Relationships and Procreation ................................ ................................ ................................ .......... 44 Predictors of Interest in Relationships ................................ .............................. 45 Predictors of Interest in Procreation ................................ ................................ 45 4 DISCUSSION ................................ ................................ ................................ ......... 49 Methodological Issues: Inducing Mortality Sa lience through Memory Sharing ....... 51 Measurement Issues: Ceiling Effects ................................ ................................ ...... 54 Getting Married, Having Kids: Norms of Young Adulthood ................................ ..... 54 ................... 56 Interest in Relationships ................................ ................................ ................... 56 Interests in Childbearing ................................ ................................ ................... 57 Limitations ................................ ................................ ................................ ............... 59 Conclusion ................................ ................................ ................................ .............. 60 APPENDIX A EXPERIMENTAL CONDITION MANIPULATION: WRITING TASK INSTRUCTIONS ................................ ................................ ................................ ..... 62 B FREQUENCY OF LEISURE ACTIVITIES QUESTIONNAIRE ................................ 63 C MEMORY QUALITIES QUESTIONNAIRE ................................ ............................. 67 D PERSONAL MARRIAGE ATTITUDES QUESTIONNAIRE ................................ ..... 69 E SHARABANY ................................ ................................ ........ 70 F PERSONAL CHILDBEARING ATTITUDES QUESTIONNAIRE ............................. 72

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7 G ................................ ..................... 73 H STATE ANXIETY INVENTORY ................................ ................................ .............. 75 I FUTURE TIME PERSPECTIVE SCALE ................................ ................................ 76 J WORD COMPLETI ON TASK ................................ ................................ ................. 78 LIST OF REFERENCES ................................ ................................ ............................... 79 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH ................................ ................................ ............................ 85

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8 LIST OF TABLES Table page 2 1 Example n ar ratives produced by participants in the survival threat and a nxiety c onditions ................................ ................................ ............................... 34 2 2 Mea n scores by c ondition on i tems from the Memory Qualities Questionnaire .. 35 3 1 Intercorrelations of demographics, background variables, and psychological c onstructs with ubscales of the Childbearing Questionnaire ................................ ................................ ................ 47 3 2 Stepwise regression with s cores on riterion v ariable ................................ ................................ ................................ ............... 48 3 3 Stepwise regression with scores on the Traditional s ubscale of the Childbearing Questionnaire as criterion v ariable ................................ ................ 48 3 4 Stepwise regression with scores on the Satisfactions of Childrearin g subscale of the Childbearing Questionnaire as criterion variable ....................... 48 3 5 Stepwise Regression with s cores on th e Feeling Needed and Connected s ubscale of the Childbearing Questionnaire as c r it erion v ariable ....................... 48

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9 Abstract of Thesis Presented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of M aster of S cience AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL MEMORIES OF SURVIVAL THREATS IN YOUNG ADULTHOOD: EXTENDING TERROR MANAGEMENT THEORY By Amanda N. Gesselman December 2011 Chair: Susan Bluck Major: Psychology The current study investigated whether recalling autobiographical memories (AMs) of survival threats wo uld lead to increased interest in relationships and procreation in young adults ( N = 160). Terror Management Theory (TMT; e.g ., Rosenblatt et al., 1989 ) suggests that anxiety occurs when mortality is salient, and buffers. In line with evolutionary theory, interest in relationships was hypothesized as one such mechanism as was interest in procreation. Both were expected to increase following a mortality salience induction (compared to control conditions). A novel and more ecologically valid method of mortality salience induction was developed, using AMs of survival threats as a technique. Interest in relationships and procreation was first assessed in an online pretest. At a delayed posttest, participants were randomly assigned to the Survival Threat, Anxiety, or Leisure Condition. AMs of survival threats or academic deadlines were shared, or a leisure activities questionnaire was completed. Following this, we assessed inte rest in relationships and procreation for a second time. The hypotheses were not supported. Results suggest that while sharing a survival threat AM made mortality salient, no increases in either relationship or procreation

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10 interests occurred. Exploratory a (pretest) interest in relationships and procreation. Relationship status, sexual orientation, religiosity, and future time perspective were identified as predictors. The discussion focuses on methodologi cal, measurement, and sample concerns regarding null findings, in addition to the exploratory results.

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11 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION Like other animals humans are driven by a self preservation instinct a drive to survive and to reproduce in order to continue our genetic lineage (Buss & Schmitt, 1993). Unlike other organisms, however, humans have the cognitive capacity to understand that we are living beings and that like all other living things we will one day die. The dissonance created by the conflicting su rvival drive and knowledge that there is ultimately no protection aga inst death (i.e., mortality salience ) has been studied extensively in the context of Terror Management Theory (TMT; e.g., Rosenblatt, Greenberg, Solomon, Pyszczynski, & Lyon, 1989). Accor own mortality is made salient, this conflict has the potential to generate feelings of severe anxiety. Psychological mechanisms that serve to quell the anxiety then come into play; such mechanisms focus on allowing individual s to feel that, though they may & Hirschberger, 2003). The research reviewed here first briefly summarizes the TMT literature. Existing mechanisms for anxiety redu ction in the face of mortality salience, such as identification with cultural norms, have been studied extensively (Arndt, Greenberg, Pyszczynski, & Solomon, 1997) but recent work has also examined the development of romantic relationships as a way to redu ce anxiety (Mikulincer & Florian, 2000). The current study extends the literature on TMT by more thoroughly investigating the evolutionary basis of the theory. In particular, the study not only considers the role that forming intimate relationships may pla y in reducing death related anxiety, but also incorporates

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12 intentions for procreation as an additional method people may use to feel that they will In addition, the current research extends the TMT literature through the implementat ion of a new methodology, the use of autobiographical memories of survival threats as a way to induce mortality salience. TMT research has largely relied on individuals abstractly considering their own hypothetical death. The current research introduces re call of actually experienced autobiographical memories of survival threats Next, a brief review of the functional approach to autobiographical memory suggests an alternative theoreti cal framework for understanding why increases in mortality salience might occur during recall of survival threat memories. The functional approach differs from TMT in that it does not include anxiety as a factor but instead suggests that recalling a memory of a survival threat serves as a reminder that life is This study specifica lly examines individuals in young adulthood, the developmental stage in which life trajectories regarding romantic relationships and procreation (i.e., getting married and having children) are likely to be important considerations. Thus, a brief section of the literature review focuses on the optimal age range for relationships and procreation. The study methods, results, and a discussion including study limitations are then presented.

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13 Terror Management Theory: Mechanisms for Anxiety Reduction in the Face of Mortality TMT is grounded in evolutionary theory and based on two assumptions: humans instinctually have a need to survive and have the awareness that their lives will someday end (for a review, see Pyszczynski, Greenberg, Solomon, Arndt, & Schimel, 20 04). The conflict created by the need for survival in the face of mortality generates helplessness and terror. TMT holds that reminders that life is finite will increase mortality salience and in turn activate psychological mechanisms that serve to allevia te the resulting anxiety. Identifying with a normative cultural worldview has been theorized as one mechanism and has been empirically validated. The norms or worldview, of a culture provide subscribers with knowledge about the world and its organization (Arndt et al., 1997). In essence, culture helps the individual to structure an otherwise chaotic world into an orderly and navigable habitat that endures in the face of individual change Identifying with a worldview is theorized to ease anxiety in respon se to mortality salience because cultural norms are enduring a culture or cultural subgroup (e.g., identification with a political party, with a sports team; Arndt et al., 1997), individuals can feel that part of them w even when their own life ends (Rosenblatt et al., 1989). For example, the Republican Party will continue after any given Republican has died. The collected literature on TMT demonstrates that when mortality is made salie nt ( identify with and uphold the norms of their culture and more strongly reject other worldviews (For a review, see Mikulincer et al., 2003). For example participants primed w ith mortality salience have been shown to display increased levels of aggression

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14 toward someone who threatens their worldview (McGregor et al., 1998), to more negatively evaluate members of religious out groups (Greenberg et al., 1990), to recommend more s (e.g., prostitutes; Rosenblatt et al., 1989), and to recommend greater rewards for heroes who have upheld those values (Rosenblatt et al., 1989). Cultural worldview has been widely agreed up on as a psychological mechanism protecting against death related anxiety. More recently, Mikulincer and Florian (2000, Study 5) suggested that intimate relationships may provide an alternative mechanism. The authors conducted a study focusing on desire for intimacy in potential romantic relationships. Participants were assigned either to a neutral condition, in which a scale on leisure activities was completed, or to a mortality salience condition. Mortality was made salient through the completion of the Fe ar of Personal Death Scale (Florian & type of romantic relationship they would most like to have, and with that relationship in condition reported more desire for intimacy in an intimate relationship than did those in the neutral condition. In the con text of TMT, relationships are thought to reduce anxiety stemming from mortality salience by allowing the individual to identify or conform with the cultural norm of forming a partnership that leads to marriage (Mikulincer et al., 2003). The positive value placed on relationsh ips in most societies implies that maintaining these relationships helps one to follow and therefore uphold the standards set forth by the

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15 culture Doing so should thereby result in a decrease in anxiety as would any identification wit h a cultural norm From this, we can predict that those confronted with thoughts of their own death may be motivated to seek out relational partners and thereby to conform to cultural expectations. This interpretation falls short, however, of truly embraci ng the evolutionary basis on which TMT rests. Evolutionary theory would suggest that individuals value intimate relationships not because of their symbolic value in conforming to societal norms but particularly because of the opportunities they provide for procreation and child rearing. Thus, the current research builds on by not only examining level of intimacy in hoped for romantic relations but also examining interest in procreation in response to mortality salien ce induction. Investigating the Evolutionary Basis: Incorporating Procreation More than a century ago, Charles Darwin proposed the now well known and widely accepted theory on the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection (i.e., Theory of Evolution). According to his theory, organisms are driven by the instinct to survive and procreate. As a result of challenges that posed threats to these instincts, species specific mechanisms designed to assist in survival and procreation arose over time to give fut ure generations an advantage over such threats (Darwin, 1859). These mechanisms would allow each particular species to better navigate and interact with its environment. As fellow products of biology, humans have also developed physical and psychological m echanisms designed to aid in survival and procreation (Buss, 1995). From an evolutionary perspective, intimate relationships help to address basic issues confronting humanity by providing preservation benefits (Mikulincer et. al, 2003; Buss & Schmitt, 199 3). Relationships present opportunities for sexual activity, clearly

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16 increasing the likelihood of procreation. H uman ancestors who were successful at establishing and maintaining relationships with those of the opposite sex were more likely to keep their g enetic lineage alive by procreating and obtaining the support needed to ensure the survival of the offspring t han were those unsuccessful ances tors (Mikulincer et al., 2003; Baumeister & Leary, 1995; Buss & Schmitt, 1993). Thus, if forming relationships co ntinuously aided in procreation, a preference for obtaining romantic partners versus not obtaining them would have evolved. As such, one area thoroughly studied in evolutionary psychology is that of mate selection (for a review, see Buss, 2007). T hough ind ividuals routinely seek out partners in order to mate regardless of survival threat, TMT suggests that individuals would likely feel an increase in overall desire to form romantic partnerships and particularly to procreate when survival threats were made s alient. Thus, the current research does not examine specific mate selection parameters but focuses on the overall tendency towards forming relationships and interest in procreating in relation to study conditions that elicit mortality salience. Increasing Ecological Validity: Autobiographical Memories of Survival Threats To date, TMT researchers have typically made mortality salient by having participants complete open ended questions concerning their own death (as compared to a neutral or an aversive but n on death related control condition). That is, salience is eventual demise. The following are instructions given to participants in a typical mortality salience condition: Pl ease briefly describe the emotions that the thought of your own death arouses in you," and "Jot down, as specifically as you can, what you think will happen to you physically as you die and once you are physically dead. (Greenberg, Pyszczynski, Solomon, Si mon, & Breus, 1994, p. 628)

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17 Note, however, that many people also have non hypothetical autobiographical memories of survival threatening events from their own lives: times that they felt to some extent that their life might be threatened. Not only can huma ns abstractly understand that one day they will die but humans remember experiences in which survival felt threatened (e.g., a car accident). Previous research on flashbulb memories (Brown & Kulik, 1977), memories of personally significant public events i nvolving shocking news (i.e., usually death related events such as the JFK assassination, the Challenger explosion, the 9 11 terrorist attacks), and intrusive memories of personal traumatic experiences (i.e., survival threatening situations such as abuse; e.g., Krans, Naring, Becker, & Holmes, 2009) have shown that memories high in intensity and personal consequentiality are reported as better remembered than emotionally neutral memories (for a review, see Simula, 2008). From these findings, it appears peop le are specifically attending to and remembering threatening events. While these memories are of extreme examples, less serious survival threats such as a car accident, a close call in traffic, or a sports accident may also occur in everyday life. Examinin g autobiographical memories of these events provides a chance to elicit mortality salience based on naturally occurring events instead of the hypothetical scenario approach taken in typical TMT research. In the current study, autobiographical memories of m ore common survival threats will be employed as a method of inducing mortality salience. The study investigates whether recalling such memories results in an increased interest in forming relationships and having children. Autobiographical memory research ers have shown that memory sharing serve s social functions such as increasing intimacy in existing romantic relationships (Alea &

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18 Bluck, 2007). A brief review of the functional approach to autobiographical memory details how an increase in interest in rela tionships and procreation might occur when autobiographical memories of survival threats are recalled. The functional approach differs from TMT in that it does not identify a role for death related anxiety in understanding why mortality salience may lead t o increased interest. Instead, functional theory suggests that recalling a memory of a survival threat reminds one that life could left to live. The knowledge that life end sense of future timeline, making current life phase goals feel more pressing. The Functional Approach to Autobiographical Memory Though most researchers taking a functional perspective examine proximal functi ons of memory (e.g., how sharing a specific me mory leads immediately to increased intimacy; Alea & Bluck, 2007), one might also suggest that the way the entire autobiographical memory system currently functions is a product of evolutionary history (Baddele y, 2009; c.f. Kihlstrom, 2009). If autobiographical memory is indeed a species specific adaptation, it should function in ways that serve basic survival and procreation needs of the human organism. While having long genera lly adaptive, autobiographical memories with specific sorts of content may serve made salient may allow an individual to avoid dangerous situations in the future (i.e., to survive; Krans, Naring, Becker, & Holmes, 2009). This link between remembering survival threatening events and avoiding future danger is straightforward. Recalling survival threatening events that make mortality generally salient may also, however,

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19 streng then the drive to achieve basic species goals such as social bonding, particularly bonding that will lead to procreation. As such, the current study focuses on whether autobiographical remembering can function to increase interest in relationships and in procreation. In terms of previous theory, this would be categorized as a social function of autobiographical rememberi ng (Bluck & Alea, 2002). The social function generally includes formation and maintenance of social bonds, but other examples include usin g autobiographical memories to teach or inform others, to elicit or increase empathy (Ainsworth, Bluck, & Baron, 2008; Gold, Baron, & Bluck, 2009), and to increase shared intimacy in existing relationships (Alea & Bluck, 2007). Though some research has exa mined the function of sharing positive memories, the potential functions of negative, survival related memories like those included in the current study have yet to be investigated. A functional approach to autobiographical memory predicts the same outcom e from thinking about survival threats as does TMT, but with one distinction. TMT research has primarily assessed how people manage the death related anxiety s temming from survival threats through identifying with cultural norms that make them lasting) or more recently through desire for intimacy in romantic relationships. In line with the functional approach, however, it may be that the act of remembering the survival thre at leads to increased desire for intimate relations and procreation without eliciting feelings of severe anxiety. Instead, remembering makes cognitively salient that life has an ending.

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20 This idea dovetails nicely with empirical evidence guided by Socioemot ional Selectivity Theory (SST) in the lifespan development literature. SST research has found that perceived time left to live significantly influences the pursuit of social goals, specifically relations with close others (Carstensen, Isaacowitz, & Charles 1999). In particular, results show that when individuals perceive the end of life to be near either in naturalistic situations (i.e., aging, facing disasters such as SARS, 9 11, or personal diagnosis such as HIV; Fung & Carstensen, 2006) or in experiment ally induced situations (Fung & Carstensen, 2004) there is an increase in the desire to spend time with close social partners (i.e., particularly with family members) and a desire to maintain intimate meaningful social relations. In relating SST findings to functional theory, this suggests that recalling an autobiographical memory involving a survival threat may remind the individual that life is finite, and that their life trajectory has a limited timeline. This reminder of death helps the individual to r eprioritize their current goals. That is, recalling a survival threat should direct the rememberer toward achieving age appropriate social developmental goals. For individuals in young adulthood particularly, recalling survival threatening events may heigh ten the need to achieve the pressing developmental task of forming a romantic partnership and producing offspring. Normative Life Phase for Romantic Partnership Formation and Procreation evelopmental theory (Baltes, 1987) was used to identify individuals in the normative age range for forming relationships expected to lead to procreation. While people of all ages should show reactions to their mortality being made salient, those in late ad olescence and young adulthood are most likely to respond with the need to form relationships and

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21 procreate Those in life phases who can no longer have children, or who already have (i.e., late/midlife and beyond), should instead be more likely to identify with larger cultural norms (e.g., political affiliation) to ward off feelings of anxiety. From a lifespan developmental perspective (Baltes, 1987), individuals in the early adulthood phase face the developmental task of forging intimacy versus facing isol ation ( Erikson, 1950 ). That is, they should be considering their life trajectory concerning the building of relationships leading to potential marriage and childbearing (Berk, 2007). Data from the 2006 United States census provide support for this age rang e as that in which marriage and family planning are important. Data show mean age for first marriage (males: 28, females: 26) and age range for highest birth rate (females and males: 25 29) fall within the young adulthood life phase (Center for Disease Con trol, 2008a; 2008b). Additionally, research on age graded social norms has shown 19 to 25 years of age to be the range designated as appropriate or expected for marriage ( Neugarten, Moore, & Lowe, 1996). As such, the current study focused on participants b etween the ages of 18 and 29, the age range marking the early adulthood phase and the onset of the intimacy versus isolation crisis in which individuals should be planning for, or forming, intimate relationships (Erikson, 1950). The Current Study The curr ent study investigated the effect of recalling autobiographical memories of relationships was studi es ; e.g., Mikulincer & Florian, 2000) but also the personal importance of marriage and desired timing of marriage. Interest in procreation was measured by assessing childbearing motivations (Miller, 1994), importance of having children, desired age for

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22 chi ldbearing and number of children desired Each of these constructs was assessed at pretest and posttest, which were separated by a minimum of three days (maximum of nine days). After the pretest, participants were assigned to either the experimental condi tion or one of two control conditions. In the experimental condition, participants shared an autobiographical memory of a time when they felt their survival was threatened (Survival Threat Condition). In the first control condition, participants shared an autobiographical memory of a time when an academic deadline caused feelings of anxiety (Anxiety Condition). This control condition was included to allow for investigation into whether any observed effects were due specifically to the survival threat or to anxiety more generally. The topic of academic deadline was chosen because of its relevance to participants in the included age range and its ability to elicit anxiety that is neither death related nor related to other events that would change time perspect ive through priming endings. The second control condi tion was based on previous neutral control condition s used in TMT research (e.g., Mikulincer & Florian, 2000). Participants completed a questionnaire on frequency of engagement in various leisure activit ies. This condition ( Leisure Condition ) wa s included as a standard control previously used in the TMT literature against which to examine the effects of the mortality salience condition. Completing the leisure activities questionnaire kept the general auto biographical focus consistent across conditions by requiring the participant to draw on past experiences. Five focused hypotheses were developed for this study: 1. Pretest ratings of interest in relationships will be similar across all conditions. Following the experimental manipulation, participants in the Survival Threat Condition will report higher levels of interest in relationships as compared to participants in the Anxiety Condition and Leisure Condition.

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23 2. Pretest ratings of interest in procreation will be similar across all conditions. Following the experimental manipulation, participants in the Survival Threat Condition will report higher levels of interest in procreation as compared to participants in the Anxiety Condition and the Leisure Condition. 3. If participants in the Survival Threat Condition do report greater interest in relationships and procreation at the posttest, TMT predicts increases in interest should be related to reporting greater death related anxiety in relation to their shared memory. 4. Alternatively, the functional approach predicts that any increases in interest in relationships and procreation at posttest should be related to changes in future time perspective. 5. The study also explored possible moderators of the predicted effects. Measu res of self esteem and religiosity were examined as moderators of changes in interest in relationships and procreation due to mortality salience. Both have been shown to reduce the level of death related anxiety felt following the mortality salience induct ion in previous research.

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24 CHAPTER 2 METHODS Participants The sample ( N = 160; gender balanced) consisted of college undergraduates aged 18 to 25 ( M = 19.78, SD = 1.52). The sample size was distributed as follows: 80 participants were randomly assigned to the Survival Threat Condition, 40 to the Anxiety Condition, and 40 to the Leisure Condition This optimal design allows for comparison of the experimental condition to a combined control condition, thereby increasing statistical power ( McClelland, 1997 ). The sampled age range marks the young adulthood phase of life and reflects psychosocial stage in which individuals face the task of intimacy versus isolation. Participants were recruited from Departm ent participant pool and psychology classes. All participants received course credit for participation. While it may be the case that young adults not attending university pursue partnership and family planning goals earlier than those enrolled, this does not present a confound as the effects were expected for any individual in the young adulthood age range that has not yet achieved these goals. Those who already have children or have been married were excluded from the study because they were not expected to be as likely to respond to mortality salience inductions through an increased interest in relationships and procreation. Study Design The study was a 3 (Condition: Survival Threat, Anxiety, Leisure) by 2 (Time: pretest, posttest) mixed design with Cond ition as a between groups variable and Time as a repeated measure. Again note that the study conditions were intentionally

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25 imbalanced to allow for comparison of the Survival Threat Condition with a combined control condition, in addition to comparisons acr oss the three conditions. The major dependent variables were interest in relationships and interest in procreation. Procedure Pretest study materials were administered through Surveymonkey.com, allowing online remote access. Online data collection is incre asingly favored as it decreases potential costs while maintaining level of response rate and quality of da ta ( Fricker and Schonlau, 2002; Pealer, Weiler, Pigg, Miller & Dorman, 2001; Chang, 2005 ). For individuals in the young adult age range, the online fo rmat is a comfortable and familiar form of assessment as internet usage is common in daily life. At the beginning of the pretest, participants were informed that the study concerned differences in past events and lifestyle choices so as to conceal the sp ecific study hypotheses. All participants completed the informed consent and demographic information. The remaining measures were presented in the following order: major dependent variables (relationships and procreation, counterbalanced), Future Time Per spective Scale, State Anxiety Inventory (counterbalanced), Religious Orientation Scale, and Self Esteem Scale. Following completion of the online pretest, participants had three to nine days to complete the in lab posttest session. The pre and posttest wer their feelings at the moment and not based on memory of responses from the pretest. The posttest session was completed in person so as to not deviate from previous T MT m ethodology too drastically, and to ensure that participants clearly focused on the condition manipulation instructions. Though this was conducted in lab, measures continued to be presented on a computer in order to reduce any effects due to format

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26 change f rom pretest to posttest. Participants were randomly assigned (balanced by gender) to either the experimental condition or one of the two control conditions. In the experimental condition (Survival Threat Condition), participant s s hare d an autobiographical memory of an event in which they experienced a survival threat One confound in recalling a survival threatening event is that it is likely to also be an anxiety evoking event. To control for this, ensuring that only survival related anxiety is responsible for the obtained effects, the Anxiety Condition was employed. P articipants share d a memory of a specific time in which they faced an anxiety inducing academic deadline ( Anxiety Condition ). This condition required sharing a memory that was not related to s urvival threats or to other endings in any way, b ut was a time of anxiety. The use of an academic event ensured that this was both common and meaningful for individuals attending university. The second control condition was modeled from a condition that h as been frequently used in the TMT literature ( e.g., Mikulincer & Florian, 2000). In this condition (Leisure Condition ) participants completed a questionnaire on frequency of engagement in various leisure activities. Inclusion of this condition allowed fo r comparing the mortality salience effects to a standard neutral control condition used in previous TMT research. That is, it allowed for testing of effects against a condition in which no effects were expected due to the neutral or slightly positive natur e of the experimental manipulation in this condition. While participants did not recall a specific memory in this condition, completing the leisure activities questionnaire required the participant to draw on past experiences, therefore incorporating autob iographical memory across all conditions.

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27 Depending on their assigned condition, the participant was given three minutes to identify a survival threat memory, academic deadline memory, or leisure pursuits of interest. Next, they share d their memory in the form of a typed narrative (i.e., into an on screen text box) or completed t he leisure activities task (Appendix A includes memory writing task instructions and leisure activity questionnaire instructions) In the memory writing task, participants were req uired to fill the text box, which included seven lines of text When it appear ed that th e participant had finished his or her narrative, a standard prompt was provided to ensure that no additional information or detail could be remembered. Participants in the Leisure Condition shared their previous engagement in leisure pursuits through a leisur e activities questionnaire ( Appendix B) and were allotted the same amount of time for completion. When it appeared that the participant had finished the task, a stan dard prompt was provided to ensure all questions had been answered. Examples of narratives produced by the participants appear in Table 2 1. Following the experimental manipulation participant s in all conditions complete d a word pronunciation filler task for a total of three minutes. This task was included because previous TMT research has shown that mortality salience effects occur after a brief distraction, when thoughts of death are outside of consciousness (Greenberg et al., 1994). Next, an implicit m ortality salience manipulation check was administered, followed by measures of interest in relationships and measures of interest in procreation (counterbalanced). The Future Time Perspective Scale and State Anxiety Inventory were then administered in coun terbalanced order. Lastly, the Memory Qualities Questionnaire was administered After all measures were completed, participants were deb riefed according to IRB standards

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28 Measures Background and Control Measures Demographics Self reports of demographic an d background information (e.g., age, gender, sexual orientation, current relationship status, current relationship length, perceived health) were collected using a standard questionnaire. Memory measures The Memory Qualities Questionnaire (MQQ; Bluck, Levi ne, & Laulhere, 1999) was personal significance, v ividness, and emotionality ( Appendix C). See Table 2 2 for memory quality means by condition. On average, memories shared by the Survival Threat and Anxiety Conditions were only somewhat personally significant but were still very vivid and emotionally negative. However, those in the Leisure Condition felt that their memories of engagement in leisure activities were very pers onally significant and vivid, and contained quite a bit of positive emotionality. The MQQ included these ratings, along with questions regarding feelings during the actual event, frequency of recall, and date of the event. The final questionnaire containe d eleven items and all ratings were made on 5 point Likert type scales where 1 = not at all and 5 = very much, except for the question concerning memory date, which was a free response item. The MQQ was modified for the current study to also assess the ex tent to which the participant felt his/her survival was threatened or felt anxious at the time of the narrated event, and the extent to which the participant felt anxious during memory recall. These

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29 items were used as explicit manipulation checks and are d iscussed in the manipulation check section below. Measures of Major Interest Interest in relationships Interest in relationships was assessed in two ways. First, a questionnaire assessing personal marriage attitudes included the following items: 1. How import ant is it for you to get married? 2. If it were just up to you, what would be the ideal time for you to get married? Responses to the first item were measured on a 7 point Likert scale ranging from 1 (Very important) to 7 (Not at all important). Responses to the second item were measured on a 7 point Likert scale ranging from 1 (As soon as possible) to 7 (In the very distant future). The first item was created specifically for the current study, and the second item was taken from previous work on desires abou t marriag e and parenthood (Plotnick, 2007). This questionnaire is presented in Appendix D. Additionally, interest in relationships was assessed using a slightly modified attac 0 .87; Appendix E). Following previous work (Mikulincer & Florian, 2000), participants completed the scale while considering the relationship they would ideally hope to have with a romantic partner. Each item was rated on a 7 point scale from not at all (1) to very much (7). A total desire for intimacy score was calculated by averaging the 32 items. Interest in procreation Interest in procreation was also assessed in two ways. First, a questionnaire concerning personal childb earing attitudes included the following items:

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30 1. How important is it for you to have children? 2. If it were just up to you, what is the ideal time to have your first child? 3. If it were just up to you, what size would you ideally like your future family to be? Responses to the first item were measured on a 7 point Likert scale ranging from 1 (Very important) to 7 (Not at all important). Responses to the second item were measured on a 7 point Likert scale ranging from 1 (As soon as possible) to 7 (In the very dis tant future). Responses to the third item were measured on a 7 point Likert scale ranging from 1 (Small) to 7 (Very large). The first and third items were created specifically for the current study. The second item was taken from previous work on desires a bout marriage and parenthood (Plotnick, 2007). This questionnaire is presented in Appendix F. (1994) Child bearing Questionnaire (CBQ; Appendix G). The questionnaire contained a total of 17 items that reflect positive motivations toward childbearing (e.g., having a child to carry on family traditions). These items are divided into three subscales: Traditional Parenthood ( = 0.85), Satisfactions of Childbearing ( = 0.90), and Feeling Needed and Connected = 0.93 ). Potential Mediators Anxiety Anxiety Inventory ( 0 .89 ; Appendix H). This assessment is a shortened version of item State Trait Anxiety Inventory, and has shown to be a reliable and valid measure. It includes six items on 7 point Likert type scales, ranging from 1 (Not at all) to 7 (Very much). The mean across all items is used as the total score. Higher scores reflect higher levels of state anxiety.

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31 Future time perspective (1996) Future Time Perspecti ve Scale ( 0 .89 ; Appendix I). This scale includes ten items (e.g., My future seems infinite to me) rated on 7 point Likert type scales ranging from 1 (Very untrue) to 7 (Very true). The mean across items represents the total score. Higher scores indica te a greater and more unlimited sense of future time perspective. Potential Moderators Religiosity Religiosity was measured to determine its impact on death related anxiety in response to the mortality salience induction using the Religious Orientation S cale ( ROS; Allport and Ross, 1967). The scale consists of 20 items divided into two subscales: 0 0 .74) religiosity. Responses were rated on a 5 point Likert type scale where 1 = strongly agree and 5 = strongly disagree (Friedman & Rholes, 2009). All items are reversed for scoring. Higher means indicate higher levels of that form of religiosity for each subscale High levels of religiosity have previously been shown to protect against the effects of mortality salience inductions ( Friedman & Rholes, 2009). S elf esteem Self Esteem Scale (1965; 0 .88 ). The scale consists of ten items rated on 4 point Likert type scales where 1 = strongly agree and 4 = strongly disagree. High levels of self esteem have previously been related to lesser effects in response to mortality salience induct ions ( Greenberg et al., 1992 ).

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32 Filler and Manipulation Check Measures Pronunciation filler task Previous TMT research has shown that time delays between mortality salience inductions and outcome measures are necessary in order to capture an effect ( Greenb erg et al., 1994 ). This task was used to create a 3 minute filler between administration of the mortality salience induction and posttest measures of interest in relationships and procreation. The task required participants to rate the subjective ease of p ronunciation of numerous words using 7 point Likert type scales (1 = easy; 4 = medium; 7 = hard). This task was chosen because of its neutral content. Performance on this task was not evaluated. Mortality salience manipulation checks Two manipulation chec ks were administered to ensure that mortality was made salient in the Survival Threat Condition. Greenberg and colleague s (1994) word completion task was adminis tered as a manipulation check of whether implicit mortality salience was higher in the Surviva l Threat Condition than in the two control conditions ( Appendix J). This task includes 20 incomplete words which are complete d by filling in the missing letters. The words have been chosen to measure accessibility of death related thoughts Six of the pres ented words are ambiguous, meaning they could have a death related completion or a neutral completion. ould either mortality salience manipulation was successful, particip ants in the experimental condition would complet e more death related words than those in either of the control conditions An explicit mortality salience manipulation check was also conducted. A single item was presented on the MQQ that assessed the extent to which participants felt they

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33 may die during the shared event. Responses were made on 5 point Likert scales ranging from 1 = not at all to 5 = very much. Anxiety manipulation checks Two manipulation checks were administered to ensure that both the Surv ival Threat Condition and Anxiety Condition felt anxious during their shared event and when recalling it in the experimental session. Responses were made on 5 point Likert scales ranging from 1 = not at all to 5 = very much.

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34 Table 2 1. Example n arratives p roduced by participants in the s urviva l threat and anxiety c onditions Condition Narrative Survival Threat Although the rapids were very minimal, my inexperience caused me to flip my kayak. Because I had a previous training session, I immediately recalle d what to do in the situation. I reached for the strap that connected me to the kayak to release myself. As I reached my hands around, I felt no such strap. After about three seconds, I went into ands down and began to push against the river bed to allow my head to surface for air. The river was only shallow enough to do this for a time or two and I was not getting enough air, I thought I was going to die. artment. My aunt and her boyfriend were watching over us. We heard his footsteps coming up and we all hid thinking it was fun and games. He took one look around and was filled with rage which scared all of us. He caught my brother and started whipping him with this rubber car part. I was really scared, went on forever even though it probably only lasted minutes. The sound of my brother yelling made me even more scared and sad. I felt h ve never forgotten that moment. Anxiety I had a huge final exam to take that would determine whether I got a B or C in the class. Since I was applying to dental schools, my final grades had a huge impact so I was extremely anxious to get anything below a B. I studied constantly the entire week before, always feeling exam and waiting for the exam to begin, I just kept imaginin g checking my scores and whether I would be relieved or devastated. Even during the exam, coming across challenging questions made my heart race and t hat anxiety continued to build. I recently had an exam that took place the morning after I took the GRE at 8:30am. I finished the GRE at about 5pm and drove home, ate dinner, and by time I sat down to study it was already almost 7pm. I felt very anxious and worried about how I would do on this exam, and I had a hard time concentrating. I tried hard to read o ver my notes but I kept getting distracted. I felt hopeless and decided to take a quick rest before continuing, and I felt more anxious when I woke up because I felt I was wasting my time. I began to feel worried that if I did not do well on this exam that I would fail and have to drop the class. This led to more procrastination and more worry that lasted u ntil after I finished the exam.

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35 Table 2 2. Mean s cores by c ondition on i tems from the Memory Qualities Questionnaire Survival Threat c ondition Anxie ty c ondition Leisure c ondition M SD M SD M SD Personal Significance 2.99 1.05 2.73 1.14 4.08 0.92 Vividness 4.24 0.75 4.02 0.88 4.03 1.03 Positive Emotionality 1.84 1.02 1.76 0.94 4.05 1.01 Negative Emotionality 3.22 1.17 3.37 1.14 1.68 1.00

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36 CHAPTE R 3 RESULTS The study results are presented in three sections beginning with the preliminary analyses. The next section details main analyses addressing the first two study hypotheses concerning condition by time effects on interest in relationships and in terest in procreation. Due to null findings on the first two hypotheses, further hypotheses outlined in the Introduction could not be tested. Given that condition manipulations did not influence interest in relationships and procreation from pretest to pos ttest, some exploratory analyses were conducted that focus on identifying other predictors that do Preliminary Analyses Several issues were addressed through preliminar y analyses. Manipulation checks were performed to ensure that the mortality salience and anxiety manipulations were successful. Next, constructs previously demonstrated to reduce mortality salience induction effects were examined to confirm that random ass ignment to conditions was successful in regard to those variables. Findings from these analyses basically confirm that the condition manipulations and random assignment were successful. Potential covariates such as order of administration, background varia bles and demographics were then investigated for possible inclusion in the main analyses. Manipulation Checks Analyses were conducted to determine whether participants who received the mortality salience induction showed heightened awareness of mortality ( explicit and implicit salience). Analyses also determined whether the participants in the two anxiety conditions (i.e., Survival Threat Condition, Anxiety Condition) actually experienced

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37 greater anxiety during the recalled event, as well as during the expe riment (as compared to the Leisure Condition). Explicit Mortality Sa lience: Extent to W hich P articipant T hought T hey M ight D ie This manipulation check assessed the extent to which participants thought they might die during the remembered event (i.e., duri ng the survival threatening event, anxiety inducing event, or during previous leisure activities). Supporting the condition manipulation, condition differences emerged, F (2, 158) = 183.41, p < 0.001, p = 0.70. Follow up t tests revealed that participants in the Survival Threat Condition ( M = 3.79, SD = 0.99) more strongly felt that they would die during the event than those in either the Anxiety Condition ( M = 1.29, SD = 0.72) or the Leisure Condition ( M = 1.21, SD = 0.56), t (119) = 14.32, p < 0.001 and t (118) = 15.12, p < 0.001, respectively. The Anxiety Condition and Leisure Condition did not differ, t (79) = 0.47, p = 0.64. Implicit M ortality S alience: Accessibility of D eath R elated W ords The implicit manipulation check was a 25 item word completion task in which six embedded items could be completed in a death related way. These i te m s were summed for each participant, creating a possible range of zero to six. An ANOVA with condition as the independent variable and the total number of death related words as the dependent variable revealed no condition differences, F (2, 158) = 0.02, p = 0.98, p = 0.00. Means by condition were: Survival Threat Condition, M = 2.00, SD = 0.87; Anxiety Condition, M = 2.02, SD = 0.88; Leisure Condition: M = 2.03, SD = 0.89. P revious research has shown that when mortality is made salient, participants complete approximately two death related words, with the control conditions typically completing less. For example, in the first study to use this word completion task, those in t he

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38 mortality salience condition identified an average of 2.08 death related words while those in the control condition only identified 0.62 (Greenberg, Pyszczynski, Solomon, Simon, and Breus, 1994, Study 4). In the present study, both control conditions id entified more death related words than would typically be expected: the majority of the sample identified the words buried (73%) and killed (69%). Re running the analyses related words moved the effect toward significance (i.e., more words correctly identified in the Survival Threat Condition) but it still did not reach traditional levels: F (2, 158) = 1.81, p = 0.17, p = 0.02. Anxiety at T ime of E vent The study included death related anxiety (sur vival threat memory shared) and academic anxiety (academic deadline memory shared) conditions, as well as the Leisure Condition (no anxiety). This manipulation check assessed the extent to which participants chose a memory in which they had felt anxious (i .e., as per the study instructions) about either a death related or academic event. Condition differences emerged, F (2, 158) = 108.57, p < 0.001, p = 0.58. Those in the Anxiety Condition ( M = 4.56, SD = 0.67; t (79) = 11.10, p < 0.001) and Survival Threat Condition ( M = 4.63, SD = 0.79; t (118) = 13.20, p < 0.001) both reported feeling more anxious at the time of the event than did those in the Leisure Condition ( M = 2.23, SD = 1.10). The Anxiety Condition and Survival Threat Condition did not differ, t (119 ) = 0.45, p = 0.66. Results show that participants recalled events in line with study instructions so that anxiety was effectively manipulated.

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39 Anxiety During Memory Sharing T ask In addition to assessing anxiety felt during the event, anxiety felt while re calling the event in the experimental session was examined. Condition differences emerged, F (2, 158) = 7.14, p < 0.01, p = 0.08. As expected, those in the Anxiety Condition ( M = 2.49, SD = 1.14; t ( 79 ) = 3.27, p < 0.01) and the Survival Threat Condition ( M = 2.42, SD = 1.09; t ( 118 ) = 3.51, p < 0 .01 ) felt more anxious during the task than did those in the Leisure Condition ( M = 1.70, SD = 1.02). The Anxiety Condition and Survival Threat Condition did not differ, t (119) = 0.30, p = 0.77. Note that although the Survival Threat Condition and Anxiety Condition did report greater anxiety than those in the Leisure Condition, their level of anxiety falls between a little (2) and somewhat (3) on the five point scale. While means were quite high in the two anxiety conditions for anxiety at the time of the event, anxiety during the experimental session was relatively low. Verifying Random Assignment Two analyses confirmed that random assignment to conditions was successful in regards to constructs previously examined in mortality salience research. Religiosity Previous research has observed high levels of religiosity to have a protective effect when individuals are exposed to mortality salience inductions. Thus, two separate univariate ANOVAs were conducted for the i ntrinsic and extrinsic subscales of the Religious Orientation Scale to determine any differences across conditions at pretest. Results revealed no significant differences, intrinsic: F (2, 158) = 0.15, p = 0.86, p = 0.00; extrinsic: F (2, 158) = 0.91, p = 0.40, p = 0.01.

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40 Self E steem Previous research has found an association between high self esteem and weakened effects following mortality salience inductions. A univariate ANOVA was conducted to determine whether self esteem levels differed across cond itions at pretest. No significant differences were found, F (2, 158) = 0.22, p = 0.81, p = 0.00. Potential Covariates Order of administration, demographic, and background variables were assessed to determine whether these should be included in the main analyses. Only gender showed effects and was thus included in all main analyses as an independent variable. Order Since the major dependent variables (i.e., Personal Marriage Attitudes Scale, e, Childbearing Questionnaire) were presented in counterbalanced order, a MANOVA was conducted with order (A, B) as an independent variable and Time (pretest, posttest) as a repeated measure, with all of the major study variables as the dependent variables There were p = 0.99, p = 0.00 Gender A MANOVA was conducted with gender as the independent variable and all major study variables as dependent variables. Results showed significant effects of gender on several of the majo p < 0.01, p = 0.22. Thus gender was included as an independent variable/predictor in the main analyses. Ethnicity Ethnicity was dummy coded as Caucasian and non Caucasian due to inadequate sampling of separate minority gr oups. A MANOVA was then conducted with ethnicity as

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41 an independent variable and all major study variables as the dependent variables. No p = 0.39, p = 0.14. It is acknowledged that collapsing across all ethnic minority g roups is not a sufficient method for identifying true ethnicity differences. Relationship S tatus A MANOVA was conducted with relationship status (i.e., currently single, currently in a relationship) as the independent variable and all major study variable s as dependent variables. N p = 0.13, p = 0.15. Main Analyses The main analyses were designed to address the study hypotheses. Hypotheses 1 and 2 predicted condition by time effects on measures of relationships, and on measures of procreation. Hypoth eses 3 4 were in regards to possible mediators of obtained effects, and Hypothesis 5 concerned potential moderators of such effects. As the expected effects were not obtained for Hypothesis 1 and 2, Hypotheses 3 5 could not be tested. Instead, because cond relationships or procreation some exploratory analyses are presented t hat examine whether demographic s (e.g., gender), background variables (e.g., perceived health ), or psychological constructs (e.g., sens e of future time perspective) predict such interest. Interest in R elationships function of the manipulation, a 2 (Condition [Optimal Design]: Survival Threat Condition, Con trol Conditions) x 2 (Gender: Male, Female) x 2 (Time: Pretest, Posttest) MANOVA was conducted with Condition and Gender as between groups variables and Time as a repeated measure. The dependent variables were scores on the measures of interest in

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42 relation Personal Marriage Attitudes Scale). p = 0 09, p p = 0. 95, p = 0.00. A significant three way interaction between the measures of interest in relationships, p < 0.01, p = 0.08. Follow up univariate analyses revealed an interaction between Time and Gender on only the fir st item of the p < 0.01, p = 0.05. Men rated marriage/forming a long term partnership as more important at posttest ( M = 1.82, SD = 1.00) than at pretest ( M = 2.04, SD = 1.21; t (78) = 2.16, p < 0.05) regardle ss of condition. For women, the opposite was true: marriage/forming a long term partnership was seen as less important at posttest ( M = 1.90, SD = 1.40) than at pretest ( M = 1.70, SD = 1.24; t (81) = 2.06, p < 0.05). ow any effects. Note, however, that this may be due to a ceiling effect. On a seven point scale, the overall mean at pretest was 6.01 ( SD = 0.44) and at posttest was 6.02 ( SD = 0.47). As such, it would have been very difficult for individuals to show incr eases on this measure, regardless of condition. All analyses were also conducted using the three level Condition variable (i.e., Survival Threat Condition, Anxiety Condition, Leisure Condition). No Condition or Condition by Time effects were observed. T he first hypothesis was not supported. Interest in P rocreation interest in procreation differed as a function of the condition manipulation, a 2 (Condition [Optimal Design]: Survival Threat

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43 Condition, Control Condition s ) x 2 (Gender: Male, Female) x 2 (Time: Pretest, P osttest) MANOVA was conducted with Condition and Gender as between groups variables and Time as a repeated measure. The dependent variables were scores on the measures of interest in procreation (three subscales of the CBQ: Traditional Par enthood, Satisfactions of Childr earing, and Feeling Needed and Connected; three individual items from the Personal Childbearing Attitudes scale). The MANOVA showed no significant p = 0.71, p = 0.00, or 0 .99, p = 0 45, p = 0.01 As with the measures of interest in relationships, this indicates that ratings of interest in procreation did not differentiall y change from pretest to posttest as an effect of the manipulation. The second hypothesis was not supported. Again, note that ceiling effects important is it for you t subscale of the CBQ. Means for the first item of the Personal Childbearing Attitudes Scale were 1.76 ( SD = 1.34) at pretest and 1.90 ( SD = 1.45) at posttest. For the Satisfactions of Childrearing subscale, mean score was 1.92 ( SD = 1.11) at pretest and 1.95 ( SD = 1.00) at posttest. Both were measured on seven indicating very important A significant interaction between the measures of interest in procreation and Gender was 0 .92, p < 0 .05, p = 0 .08. Follow up univariate ANOVAs failed to reveal simple main effects of gender on two of the measures of interest in procreation. A trend toward significance on the first item of the Personal Childbearing Attitudes scale was likely driving the interaction, F (1, 159) = 2.43, p = 0.12, p = 0.01.

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44 Women ( M = 1.82, SD = 1.35) rated childbearing as more important than did men ( M = 2.17, SD = 1.38). The MANOVA was also conducted with the three level Condition variable (i.e., S urvival Threat Condition Anxiety Condition Leisure Condition ) R esults did not differ from those presented above. Exploratory Analyses: Identifying Predictors of Interest in Relationships and Procreation Manipulating mortality salience did not affect int erest in relationships and procreation. Therefore, exploratory analyses (i.e., stepwise regressions) were partnerships and having children. Because this procedure can yiel d highly sample specific results and can capitalize on chance, the alpha level was adjusted to p < 0.01. This conservative p value both reduces the likelihood of a Type I error and adjusts for the inflated degrees of freedom associated with the stepwise re gression procedure ( Field, 2009 ). Nevertheless, the following results should be considered with caution and require replication. Note that the Personal Marriage Attitudes and Personal Childbearing Attitudes scales were omitted from these analyses because t hey consist of single item subscales were examined. The main hypothesis testing analyses showed that scores on relationship and procreation measures did not change from pretes t to posttest. Only pretest scores were utilized in these exploratory analyses, however to ensure that variables were not at all biased by the manipulation, general interest in marriage and having children. A correlation matrix including all variables entered in the regression models appears in Table 3 1

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45 Predictors of Interest in R elationships Stepwise (backward) regression analyses were used to determine the extent to which demographic s, background variables, intrinsic religi osity, extrinsic religiosity, self esteem, and future time perspective predict level of interest in relationships. This form of regression was used due to the exploratory (i.e., not hypothesis driven) nature of the following analyses, and the backward sele ction method was used to reduce the risk of making a Type II error ( Field, 2009). criterion variable, the following were entered into the regression: gender (i.e., male, female), ethnicity (i.e., Caucasian, non Caucasian), sexual orientation (i.e., heterosexual, bi or homo sexual), relationship status (i.e., single, partnered), perceived health (i.e., very good to very poor), intrinsic religiosity, extrinsic religiosity, self esteem, and future time perspective = 0.21) and future time perspective ( = 0.24), adjusted R = 0.07, F (2, 158) = 9.27, p < 0.001. Participants who were in a relationship t (158) = 2.79, p < 0.01 and those with a more open ended sense of future time, t (158) = 3.21, p < 0.01, desired mor e intimac y with their ideal partner (Table 3 2 ). Predictors of Interest in P rocreation Stepwise (backward) regressions were again utilized with the same model structure as described for the relationship interest variable. Separate regressions were conducte d for each of the subscales of the Childbearing Questionnaire. Scores on the Traditional subscale of the Childbearing Questionnaire (e.g., having a child to carry on family traditions) were significantly predicted by sexual orientation ( = 0.24), and intrinsic religiosity ( = 0.50), adjusted R = 0.34, F (5, 155) = 18.04, p <

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46 0.001. Participants who identified as more exclusively heterosexual, t (155) = 3.31, p < 0.01, and as more intrinsically religious, t (156) = 7.52, p < 0.001 were mor e highly motivated to have children for Traditional reasons (Table 3 3) Scores on the Satisfactions of Childrearing subscale become a success) of the Childbearing Questionnaire were significantly predicted by sexual orientation ( = 0.24) and future time perspective ( = 0.21), adjusted R = 0.14, F (4, 156) = 7.24, p < 0.001. Guiding a child toward success in life was more highly motivating for participants who reported themselves as being more exclusively heterosexual, t (156) = 3.18, p < 0.01. Participants with a more open ended sense of future time, t (156) = 2.87, p < 0.01, were also more highly motivated to have a child who would one day become a success in life under their guidance (Table 3 4 ). Finally, scores on the Feelin g Needed and Connected subscale (e.g., having a helpless baby to love and protect) of the Childbearing Questionnaire were predicted by intrinsic religiosity ( = 0.28), adjusted R = 0.13, F (3, 157) = 8.68, p < 0.001. Participants with higher levels of intrinsic religiosity were more highly motivated to have children to feel needed and useful, t (157) = 3.67, p < 0.001 (Table 3 5 ).

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47 Table 3 1. Intercorrelations of d emographics background variables, and psychological c onstructs with Intimacy Scale and three s ubscales of the Childbearing Questionnaire Variable 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 1. Gender .04 .10 .07 .14 .10 .04 .15 .15 .01 .09 .04 .01 2. Ethnicity .16* .08 .01 .20* .12 .01 .02 .01 .12 .19* .07 3. Sexual Orientation .10 .11 .03 .05 .04 .02 .05 .20* .21** .15 4. Relationship Status .06 .02 .05 .11 .03 22** .03 .02 .00 5. Perceived Health .04 .04 .22* .19* .13 .01 .03 .11 6. Intrinsic Religiosity .17* .05 .14 .08 .52** .19* .30* 7. Extrinsic Religiosity .01 .05 .06 .20* .11 .21* 8. Self Esteem 53** .13 .11 .05 .04 9. Future Time Perspective .25* .21* .23* .13 Intimacy Scale .27* .17* .18* 11. Traditional .56** .65* 12. Satisfactions o f Childrearing .57* 13. Feeling Needed & Connected Note p < 0 .05, ** p < 0 .01

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48 Table 3 2. Stepwise r egression with s acy Scale as c r iterion v ariable Predictor variable B SE B Relationship Status 0.19 0.07 0.21* Future Time Perspective 0.11 0.03 0.24* Note Relationship status:1 = partnered, 2 = single. p < 0.01. Table 3 3. Stepwise regression with s cores on the Traditional s ubscale of the Childbearing Ques tionn aire as criterion v ariable Predictor variable B SE B Sexual Orientation 0.48 0.13 0.24** Intrinsic Religiosity 0.70 0.09 0.50** Note. p < 0.01, ** p < 0.001. Table 3 4. Stepwise regression with scores o n the Satisfactions of Childrearing subscale of the Childbearing Ques tionnaire as criterion variable Predictor variable B SE B Sexual Orientation 0. 36 0.1 1 0.24* Future Time Perspective 0. 23 0.0 8 0. 21 Note. p < .01. Table 3 5. Stepwise regression with s cores on th e Feeling Needed and Connected s ubscale of the Childbearing Ques tionnaire as criterion v ariable Predictor variable B SE B Intrinsic Religiosity 0 .47 0 .13 0 .28** Note. ** p < .001.

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49 CHAPTER 4 DISCUSSION The present study was conducted to extend research based on Terror Management Theory (TMT; e.g., Rosenblatt et al., 1989). Autobiographical memories were used as a new methodology, and the study investigated not only relati onships but also procreation as buffers for existential anxiety. Young adults were sampled as forming long term partnerships and having children are salient goals in this stage of development. Typically, TMT research has induced mortality salience through the use of hypothetical open ended questions that encourage consideration of how the dying process may physically and emotionally feel (e.g., Greenberg et al., 1994). As a more ecologically valid approach, the present study had participants recall actual times that of times in their life when they felt that they might have died. Participants recalled events such as automobile accidents, altercations with highly aggres sive strangers, choking on food or other objects, and domestic abuse. Negative and traumatic memories have often been found to be highly vivid, detailed, and emotional even years after the event (e.g., Porter & Birt, 2001 ; Porter & Peace, 2007 ). Thus havin g participants recall death related memories from their own lives was expected to be an effective reminder of mortality and thereby a successful mortality salience induction. In response to mortality salience inductions, TMT researchers have gathered a we alth of evidence indicating that when mortality is made salient, individuals embrace cultural worldviews as a defense against the anxiety that arises. When reminded of death and their own mortality, participants strongly invest in their own worldview (e.g.

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50 their religious or political beliefs) and strongly reject the worldview of others so as to allevia te anxiety (Arndt et al., 1997). Romantic relationships have also been proposed as defense mechanism s against anxiety (Mikulincer & Florian, 2000). Building on that research, the current study predicted th at making mortality salient would lead to evolutionary roots, increased mortality salience was also expected to increase int erest in procreation (Hypothesis 2). Like all other animals, humans have a survival instinct that spurs us to live long enough to pass on our genetic material through producing and caring for offspring. Findings from the current study did not support Miku findings. Although the mortality salience induction appears to have worked reasonably well, neither interest in relationships (Hypothesis 1) nor interest in procreation (Hypothesis 2) increased following the mortality salience i nduction (as compared to control groups). Hypotheses 3 5, which examined mediators and moderators of expected effects based on the initial hypotheses, could th us not be tested. As presented in the Results ects, and developmental norms concerning forming partnerships and having children in young adulthood may be predictive of increased interest in relationships or procreation, some exploratory analyses were conducted to identify variables that might indeed be related to predictors of both interest in relationships and in procreation, as discus sed below. Finally, a summary of study limitations and general study conclusions are presented.

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51 Methodological Issues: Inducing Mortality Salience through Memory Sharing Given that the primary hypotheses were not supported, it was crucial to examine whet her study methods may have been responsible. Analyses were undertaken to ensure that the study design and experimental manipulation were effective. This included ensuring that random assignment had been successful, particularly for variables associated wit h weakened mortality salience effects. It also included manipulation checks to ensure that the novel autobiographical method for inducing mortality salience had been successful. Analyses conveyed that this manipulation was effective. Manipulation checks sh owed that participants in the Survival Threat Condition experienced higher levels of anxiety (vs. those in the Leisure control condition) both when the event occurred, and during recall of the event in the experimental session. The extent to which particip ants thought they would die during the event was also assessed, showing that those in the Survival Threat Condition felt more explicit mortality salience than did the control conditions. Note, however, that implicit mortality salience (as assessed by a dea th related word completion task) did not differ across conditions. this aspect of the manipulation checks, whether implicit mortality salience was induced, remains unclear. If implicit mortality salience was not induced, then this may be one reason for the null findings. Though the manipulation of mortality salience through autobiographic al memory sharing appears to have worked reasonably well as per most of the manipulation checks, it may also have presented some issues leading to null findings. Typical TMT studies have participants imagine their own future death, a scenario that does no t allow

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52 threatening autobiographical memories may have simply reminded them that though they may have almost died, they did not die. An indication of this was found in the Survival Threat Condition, while higher than reports from the Leisure Control Condition, fell between a little and somewhat Instead of resulting in high levels of anxiety during the experimental session, recalling an event that did not actually end their life lead to lower than expected levels of anxiety that were likely not much different than would have been felt at pretest. Thus, the weaker anxiety levels may have contributed to the absence of change in interest in relationships and procreation across time. The autobiographical memory procedure is more ecologically valid as individuals actually do remember and re it and contemplate their own future death. The induction, however, may have also been too strong. Previous research on TMT has shown a curious pattern that high impact mortality salience inductions are less effective than the subtle inductions typically us ed. For instance, Greenberg et al. (1994, Study 1) showed that participants who were asked with terminal cancer were less responsive to mortality salience inductions than w ere participants who were exposed to the standard open ended question induction. The authors suggest that the deeper induction was less effective because participants may have continued to consciously attend to thoughts of death after the induction and thr oughout the rest of the experimental session. Mortality salience effects only occur

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53 when there is a delay in measurement after the induction, hence the use of filler tasks between induction and measurement of dependent variables. Because recall of the surv ival threatening memory was very vivid, as previous research has shown for recall of negative memories, it is possible that the participant continued to think about it through or after the filler task. While extending the filler task to help thoughts of de ath pass from consciousness may be successful in future research, it may be the case that more impactful than hypothetical scenarios. Additionally, the restrictions of t he theory, namely that a filler task must be included in order to ensure that death related thoughts are implicit and not consciously attended to, negatively impacts ecological validity in that eath as they encounter it in daily life. In sum, there are always concerns when implementing a new methodology. According to the manipulation checks used in the current study, recalling autobiographical memories of survival threats appears to be a relativ ely effective manipulation of mortality salience. Participants reported feeling anxious in the Survival Threat Condition during the event, and (to a lesser extent) during recall of the event. They also chose events in which they sincerely felt that they mi ght die. One issue with the procedure however is that, because participants shared a remembered event that Alternatively, reliving an autobiographical memory of a surviv al threat may have been too strong and realistic an induction, promoting death related thoughts that withstood

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54 the necessary delay period for obtaining effects of mortality salience on dependent variables. Measurement Issues: Ceiling Effects Another possi ble reason for null findings may be ceiling effects ( Lammers & Badia, 2005 ) on some of the assessments of interest in relationships and in procreation. Note, however, that ceiling effects were not observed on all measures and yet null findings were still o bserved. Very high mean scores occurred for two of the three measures of interest in relationships and on three of the six measures of interest in procreation at the pretest. Given these scores, increases at the posttest would be extremely hard to detect. intimacy, forming a long term partnership, and childbearing. Specifically, having children who were successful and contributing to society was highly endorsed. While these ceili ng effects may have been obtained in part because of lack of measurement sensitivity, the high scores obtained may also accurately reflect interest in relationships and procreation in the current sample. The sample was comprised of young adults who are in a developmental life phase in which forming partnerships and having children are important developmental goals (Erikson, 1950). The next section will levels of interest i n relationships and procreation, as well as the absence of change on the assessments that did not yield ceiling effects. Getting Married, Having Kids: Norms of Young Adulthood The high scores found in the current study reflecting the importance placed on f orming partnerships and having children are not only in line with what evolutionary theory would predict for individuals in the reproductive age range ( Buss, 2007), but also

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55 with societal norms concerning the developmental tasks of young adulthood. Erikson ian theory (1950 ) identifies young adulthood as a life phase centered on the intimacy versus isolation developmental task, suggesting that young adults are concerned with forming intimate social relations and planning for long term partnerships. Empirical research also shows that young adults have more partnership goals than older individuals ( Wrosch & Heckhausen, 1999 ). Recent research on developmental timing found that serious relationships are typically sought out and formed toward the end of adolescence ( Regan, Durvasula, Howell, Ure o, & Rea, 2004 ). The Center for Disease Control found that over 70% of men and women between the ages of 25 and 44 had been married, with the median age at marriage being 27 for men and 25 for women ( Center for Disease Control, 2008b ). Planning for and having a child during young adulthood is also normative. The median age for first time mothers was 25 in 2008 ( Center for Disease Control, 2008a ) and cult ural norms specify young adulthood as the correct time for childbearing, as is Neugarten, 1968 ) teenage pregnancy or having children in midlife (e.g., after 40). Previous research supports the current stu motivation for having children, ( Boucai & Karniol, 2008 ). In sum, though the ceiling effects on several measures in the current study posed problems for measuring pre post chan ges, the high scores obtained likely reflect young term partnership and starting a family are normative and important developmental goals of young adulthood.

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56 id not increase motivation for forming a partnership or having children. Motivations toward these developmental goals were, instead, high across this young adult sample. Given the high level of motivation towards intimacy and childbearing goals, some furth er exploratory analyses forming long term relationships and motivations for having children. The following section reviews results of those analyses. Predictors of Y oung A I nterest in R elationships and P rocreation Analyses examined demographics (gender, ethnicity, and relationship status), background variables (perceived health status, intrinsic religiosity, and extrinsic religiosity) and psychological constructs (s elf esteem, future time perspective). Interest in Relationships Desire for intimacy in an ideal relationship was predicted by current relationship they were currently in a relationship ( vs. being single). This finding is supported by intimacy goals (Zimmer Gernbeck & Petherick, 2006 ). Desires for intimacy were also predicted by future time perspective. Participants who viewed their future as more positive and open ended expressed greater desire for intimacy in ideal relationships. This finding seems to contradict past research on future time perspective, which has shown that as one perc eives the future to be more limited, greater emphasis is placed on close relationships (e.g., Carstensen, Isaacowitz, & Charles, 1999; Lang & Carstensen, 2002 ). Note, however, that the previous literature has found emphasis to be placed on maintaining rela tionships with loved ones that the individual is already

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57 relationship with a partner that they do not already know. Interests in Childbearing tional subscale of the Childbearing Questionnaire were predicted by sexual orientation and intrinsic religiosity. Though the sample was only slightly diverse regarding sexual orientation (5% bisexual or homosexual), heterosexual participants were more moti vated to have children for traditional reasons, intrinsic religiosity were also more motivated to have children for traditional reasons. These findings likely stem from th e inclusion of the following item in the Traditional high levels of intrinsic religiosity ; however this item may have been less motivating for non heterosexual part icipants due to the typically negative views of same sex relationships held by religious organizations or individuals ( Whitehead, 2010 ). Scores on the Satisfactions of Childrearing subscale were also predicted by sexual orientation. Specifically, heterose xual participants reported more motivation. All items on the subscale would be applicable to participants of any sexual orientation, such as participants with bisexual or homos exual orientations were less motivated by these reasons. Overall lower levels of motivation toward childbearing for non heterosexual individuals may stem from the complicated decisions that come with same sex parenthood and the associated stigma in current society ( Goldberg, 2010 ). Note, however, that effects of sexual orientation were only found on the Traditional and Satisfactions of Childrearing subscales of the Childbearing Questionnaire. Scores were

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58 consistent across orientations when the childbearing motivation was Feeling Needed and Connected. This could be reflective of the general need to form social relationships, romantic or otherwise, in young adulthood regardless of sexual orientation. More open ended senses of future time were also associate d with higher motivation in response to the Satisfactions of Childrearing subscale. Participants who viewed their future as less limited were more motivated to have children who could benefit from their parental guidance and become successes in life, where as participants with more limited senses of future time had lower scores on the Satisfactions of those who perceive their time as limited may not feel that enough time i s left to raise a child. This may also be related to the academic responsibilities that the current sample carries. All participants were enrolled in the university and are likely to be devoting the next few years of life to school. Thus, participants who perceived their future to be limited may not yet be able to plan for life in the time following schooling. Scores on the Feeling Needed and Useful subscale were predicted by high levels of intrinsic religiosity. The association between religiosity and moti vation for children has been found in previous research, with very religious young adults or young adults raised by very religious parents being likely to want children more, and to want a larger number of children (Pearce, 2002 ). In relation to this parti cular subscale, recent research has found that more religious individuals have a greater need to belong (Okulicz Kozaryn, 2010) Feeling needed and useful through a child may satisfy that need.

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59 In summary, being in a relationship or having a more open end ed future time perspective was related to greater desire for intimacy or interest in relationships. Heterosexual orientation and higher levels of intrinsic religiosity were related to more traditional motivations for having children. Heterosexual orientati on was also linked to scores on the Satisfactions in Life subscale of the Childbearing Questionnaire, along with more open ended future time perspectives. Finally, feeling needed and useful was a motivator for participants high in intrinsic religiosity. Wh ile some of these results (e.g., family planning goals, findings regarding the link between sexual orientation and future time perspective have not been largely explor ed in a young adult population. Future would benefit from incorporating a more diverse sample in terms of sexual orientation and student status to determine whether these pred ictors are effective outside of the current sample. Limitations Limitations of the study were discussed in the Methodology and Measurement Issues sections above but are briefly summarized here. First, this study incorporated a new autobiographical memory methodology for inducing mortality salience to extend TMT findings. This method of induction was potentially too strong, such that individuals continued thinking about the death related event throughout the experimental session. Past research suggests this would have resulted in null effects. Another limitation of the autobiographical memory induction was that it may have unintentionally reminded dermined obtaining expected effects. Future research using

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60 autobiographical memories to induce mortality salience should consider the possibility that this induction produces stronger effects than the typical abstract TMT inductions, and should thus includ e longer filler tasks to account for the potency of those memories. The measurements of interest in relationships and procreation produced ceiling effects on several assessments, thereby drastically reducing the possibility of finding change from pre to posttest. Future research would benefit from using more sensitive measures that can register smaller changes, and using wider age samples so as to capture individuals before and after the normative window for forming pa rtnerships and family planning. For e xample, a sample of early midlife adults may yield an increase in interest in procreation. These individuals are quickly reaching the developmental deadline for having children (Heckhausen, Wrosch, & Fleeson, 2001) and thus may show a heightened evolutiona ry drive to reproduce in response to reminders of their own mortality. In sum, this was the first study to attempt using autobiographical memories to induce mortality salience. Future research could benefit from utilization of more effective filler tasks to offset the potency of the survival threatening memory, more sensitive assessments of the measures of interest, and a sample with greater age variability. Conclusion Though the hypotheses were not supported, the current study added several new component s to the literature on Terror Management Theory by utilizing a new incorporating lifespan developmental theory in identifying the sample most affected by the proposed defense m echanisms (i.e., relationships, procreation). Additionally, the study provided evidence that tests of Ter ror Management Theory may not be upheld

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61 when inductions are too ecologically valid. Mortality salience manipulations drawn from real life events may be of the filler task between thoughts of death and measurement of dependent variables deviates from how thoughts or memories of death may occur in daily life. The study also provided further understanding of interest in relationships and procreation, regardless of mortality salience. While some of the observed predictors (i.e., relationship status, religiosity) mapped onto previous research with young adult s replication and future research could focus on the effects of sexual orientation and future time perspective and procreation Findings from this study should help to inform future research on the fu nctions of autobiographical memories young adulthood and developmental timing of lif e events, as well as future research focusing on more ecologically valid methods for testing Terror Management Theory.

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62 APPENDIX A EXPERIMENTAL CONDITI ON MANIPULATION : WR ITING TASK INSTRUCTI ONS Survival Threat Memory Task In the space below, please briefly describe a specific event from your own life in which you had an experience where something happened that, at least for a moment, you thought you might die. Describe al l the emotions that you were feeling as this happened. Jot down, as specifically as you can, what happened to you in the moments leading up to this threatening event and what happened, and what you were thinking and feeling while you were experiencing this Focus only on how you were feeling during the event itself, and not what happened or how you felt once the event was over. Anxiety Condition Memory Task In the space below, please briefly describe a specific event from your own life in which you were faced with an upcoming academic deadline (exam, assignment, term paper, etc) that made you feel very anxious. Describe all the emotions that this aroused in you. Jot down, as specifically as you can, what happened to you in the moments leading up to this a nxiety producing event and what happened and what you were thinking and feeling while you were experiencing this. Focus only on how you were feeling during the event itself, and not what happened or how you felt once the event was over. Leisure Conditio n Task On the questionnaire below, please rate how frequently you engage in the following leisurely activities in your own life using the scale below. Respond to all items based on things that you have actually done in your life, not things that you might want to do in future.

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63 APPENDIX B FREQUENCY OF LEISURE ACTIVITIES QUESTIONNAIRE Instructions: On the questionnaire below, please rate how frequently you have engaged in the following leisurely activities in the past using the scale below. Respond to all i tems based on things that you have actually done in your life, not things that you might want to do in future. Please answer every question and feel free to use any point on the scale. How often have you done the following just for fun? 1. Driving 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Very Very Often Rarely 2. Gardening 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Very Very Often Rarely 3. Attending sports events 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Very Very Often Rarely 4. Outdoor a ctivities (e.g., rock climbing) 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Very Very Often Rarely 5. Knitting/Sewing 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Very Very Often Rarely 6. Other crafts 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Very Very Often Rarely 7. Volunteer work 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Very Very Often Rarely

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64 8. Watching TV 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Very Very Often Rarely 9. Listening to the radio/music 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Very Very Often Rarely 10. Photography 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Very Very Often Rarely 11. Reading books 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Very Very Often Rarely 12. Singing 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Very Very Often Rarely 13. Cooking 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Very Very Often Rarely 14. Reading newspapers/magazines 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Very Very Often Rarely 15. Going to plays/museums/cine ma 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Very Very Often Rarely 16. Eating out 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Very Very Often Rarely

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65 17. Walking 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Very Very Often Rarely 18. Going out to bars 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Very Very Often Rarely 19. Entertaining at home 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Very Very Often Rarely 20. Sporting activities 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Very Very Often Rarely 21. Looking after pets 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Very Very Often Rarely 22. Church activities 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Very Very Often Rarely 23. Dancing 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Very Very Often Rarely 24. Shopping 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Very Very Often Rarely 25. Indoor games (e.g., board games, cards) 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Very Very Often Rarely

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66 26. Visiting family 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Very Very Often Rarely 27. Going to parties 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Very Very Often Rarely 28. Collecting things 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Very Very Often Rarely 29. Exercising/fitness classes 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Very Very Often Rarely 30. Spending time with friends 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Very Very Often Rarely

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67 APPENDIX C MEMORY QUALITIES QUESTIONNAIRE Instructions: A few moments ago, yo u completed a task about your own life. With the information you shared during that task in mind, please answer the following questions. Click on the number that best represents your response. Please answer every question and feel free to use any point on the scale. 1. When did this event occur? (month or season)__________ year ________ 2. How personally significant is the information you shared? not at all a little somewhat quite a bit very much 1 2 3 4 5 3. How much has this information influenced the person you have become? not at all a little somewhat quite a bit very much 1 2 3 4 5 4. How vivid (clear in your mind) is the information you shared ? not at all a little somewhat quite a bit very much 1 2 3 4 5 5. How emotionally positive was the information you shared? not at all a little somewhat quite a bit very much 1 2 3 4 5 6. How emotionally negative was the information you shared? not at all a little somewhat quite a bit very much 1 2 3 4 5 7. When completing this task and thinking about the information you shared, how anxious did you feel? not at all a little somewhat quite a bit very much 1 2 3 4 5 8. How anxious did you feel at the time of the event ? not at all a little somewhat quite a bit very much 1 2 3 4 5 9. At the time of the event to what extent did you feel that your survival was threatened? not at all a little somewhat quite a bit very much 1 2 3 4 5 10. How frequently do you talk about the information you shared? not at all a little somewhat quite a bit very much 1 2 3 4 5

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68 11. How frequently do you think about the informatio n you shared? not at all a little somewhat quite a bit very much 1 2 3 4 5 12. When completing that task, to what extent were you reliving your life experience? not at all a little somewhat quite a bit very much 1 2 3 4 5 13. Sometimes people know something happened without being able to really remember it. As you think about the experience, how much do you actually remember it happening (rather than just knowing that it happened). not at all a little somewhat quite a bit very much 1 2 3 4 5

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69 APPENDIX D PERSONAL MARRI AGE ATTITUDES QUESTIONNAIRE Instructions : Please answer each of the following questions and feel free to use any point on the scale. 1. How important is it for you to get married or form a long term partnership? 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Very Not at important all important 2. If it were just up to you, what would be the ideal time for you to get married? 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 As soon In the very as possible distant fu ture

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70 APPENDIX E Instructions: Please consider the romantic partner you would ideally like to have a considering the ideal partner, not a spe cific or familiar person. With this ideal relationship partner in mind, please read each statement and rate how important it is to you using the scale below. Please answer every question and feel free to use any point on the scale. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Not a t all Neutral Very much In my ideal relationship: 1. I would feel free to talk with my part ner about almost everything. 2. If my partner did something which I did not like, I could always talk with him/her about it. 3. I would ta lk with my partner about my ho pes and plans for the future. 4. I would tell my partner when I have done something that other people would not approve of. 5. I would know how my partner feels about thin gs without him/her telling me. 6. I would know whi ch kinds of books, games, and activities he/she likes. 7. I would know how my partner feels about me. 8. I could tell when he/she is worried about something. 9. I would feel close to him/her. 10. I would like him/her. 11. When my partner is not arou nd I would miss him/her. 12. When my partner is not around I would keep wondering where he/she is and what he/she is doing. 13. The most exciting things would happen when I am with my partner. 14. I could do things with my partner that are quite diffe rent from what other people do. 15. It would bother me to have other people around and join in when the two of us are doing something together. 16. I would stay with my partner when he/she wants to do something that other people do not want to do. 17. When something nice happens to me I would share the experience with him/her. 18. Whenever my partner wants to tell me about a problem I would stop what I am doing and listen for as long as he/she wants. 19. I would offer my partner the use of my things (like clothes, food, or books). 20. If my partner wants something I would let him/her have it even if I want it too. 21. I could be sure my partner will help me whenever I ask for it. havi ng to check with him/her. 23. If I want my partner to do something for me all I would have to do is ask. 25. Whenever you see me you could be pretty sure that my partner is als o around. 26. I would like to do things with him/her.

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71 27. I would work with my partner on some of his/her hobbies. 28. I would work with my partner on something of importance to him/her. 29. I would know that whatever I tell my partner is kept s ecret between us. 30. I would not go along with others to do anything against my partner. 31. I would speak up to defend my partner with others who say bad things abou t him/her. 32. I would tell people ni ce things about my partner.

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72 APPENDIX F PE RSONAL CHILDBEARING ATTITUDES QUESTIONNAIRE Instructions: Please answer each of the following questions and feel free to use any point on the scale. 1. How important is it for you to have children? 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Very Not at all impo rtant important 2. If it were just up to you, what is the ideal time to have your first child? 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 As soon In the very as possible distant future 3. If it were just up to you, what size family would you ideally like to have (circle one)? 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Very small Very large

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73 APPENDIX G Instructions : People have many different reasons for wanting and having children. Please read the following reasons and indicate the extent to which they represent your desire for having children. Please answer every question and feel free to use any point on the sca le. How important to you are each of the following reasons for having children: 1. Having a child who will carry on my family traditions 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Very Not at all Important Impo rtant 2. Being the center of a large, active family 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Very Not at all Important Important 3. Strengthening marriage through a child 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Very Not at all Important Important 4. Fulfilling my religious feelings about family life 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Very Not at all Important Important 5. Providing my parents with a grandchild 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Very Not at all Important Important 6. Fulfilling my potential by having children 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Ve ry Not at all Important Important 7. Having my child be a success in life 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Very Not at all Important Im portant 8. Playing with my child 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Very Not at all Important I mportant

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74 9. Having my child contribute to society 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Very Not at all Important Important 10. Guiding and teaching my child 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Very Not at all Important Important 11. Sharing childraising with my partner 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Very Not at all Important Important 12. Experiencing the special love and closeness that a child provides 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Very Not at all Important Important 13. Feeling needed and useful through my baby 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Very Not at all Important Important 14. Having my chi ld provide me with companionship and support later in life 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Very Not at all Important Important 15. Having a helpless baby to love and protect 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Very Not at all Important Important 16. Feeling more complete as a person through my baby 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Very Not at all Important Important 17. Living a fuller, more enriched life through my child 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Very Not at all Important Important

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75 APPENDIX H STATE ANXIETY INVENTORY Instructions: A few m oments ago, you were asked to share some information about your life experiences. With this information in mind, please rate the extent to which each statement below characterizes how thinking about that information makes you feel right now using the scale s provided. Please answer every question and feel free to use any point on the scale. Remembering the information I just shared makes me feel : 1. calm 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Not at all Very much 2. tense 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Not at all Very much 3. upset 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Not at all Very much 4. relaxed 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Not at all Very much 5. content 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Not at all Very much 6. worried 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Not at all Very much Note Questions 1, 4, and 5 are reversed for scoring.

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76 APPENDIX I FUTURE TIME PERSPECTIVE SCALE Instructions: A few moments ago, you were asked to share some information about your life experiences. With this information in mind, please rate the extent to which each statement below characterizes how thinking about that information makes you feel right now using the scales provided. Please answer every question and feel free to use any point on the scale. 1. M any opportunities await me in the future. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Not at all Very true true 2. I expect that I will set many new goals in the future. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Not at all Ver y true true 3. My future is filled with possibilities. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Not at all Very true true 4. Most of my life lies ahead of me. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Not at all Very true true 5. My future seems infinite to me. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Not at all Very true true 6. I could do anything I want in the future. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Not at all Very true true 7. There is plenty of time left in my life to make new plans. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Not at all Very true true

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77 8. I have the sense that time is running out. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Not at all Very true true 9. There are only limited possibilities in my future. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Not at all Very true true 10. I experience time to be limited. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Not at all Very true true Note. Questions 8, 9, and 10 are reversed for scoring.

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78 APPENDIX J WORD COMPLETION TASK We are simply pre testing this questionnaire for future studies. Please complete the following by filling letters in the blanks to create words. Please fill in the blanks with the first word that comes to mind. Write one letter per blank. Some words ma y be plural. Thank you. 1. BUR D 14. CHA 2. PLA 15. KI ED 3. OK 16. CL K 4. WAT 17. TAB 5. DE 18. W DOW 6. MU 19. SK L 7. NG 20. TR 8. B T LE 21. P P R 9. M_ J R 22. COFF 10. P TURE 23. O SE 11. FL W R 24. POST 12. GRA 25. R DI 13. K _GS Note. Possibl e death fragments are #1(buried), #5(dead), #12(grave), #15(killed), #19(skull), & #22(coffin).

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82 Krans, J., Naring, G., Becker, E. S., & Holmes, E. A. (2009). Intrusive trauma memo ry: A review and functional analysis. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 23, 1076 1088. doi: 10.1002/acp.1611 Lammers, W. J., & Badia, P. (2005). Fundamental of Behavioral Research Stamford : Thomson and Wadsworth. Lang, F. R., & Carstensen, L. L. (2002). Ti me counts: Future time perspective, goals, and social relationships. Psychology and Aging 17 125 139. doi: 10.1037/0882 7974.17.1.125 Marteau T. M. & Bekker H. (1992). The development of a six item short form of the state scale of the Spielberger State Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI). British Journal of Clinical Psychology, 31, 301 306. McClelland, G. H. (1997). Optimal design in psychological research. Psychological Methods 2 3 19. doi: 10.1037/1082 989X.2.1.3 McGregor, H. A., Lieberman, J. D., Green berg, J., Solomon, S., Arndt, J., Simon, L., Pyszczynski, T. (1998). Terror management and aggression: Evidence that mortality salience motivates aggression against worldview threatening others. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 74, 590 605. do i: 10.1037/0022 3514.74.3.590 Mikulincer, M., & Florian, V. (2000). Exploring individual differences in reactions to mortality salience: Does attachment style regulate terror management mechanisms? Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 79, 260 273 doi: 10.1037/0022 3514.79.2.260 Mikulincer, M., Florian, V., & Hirschberger, G. (2003). The existential function of close relationships: Introducing death into the science of love. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 7, 20 40. doi: 10.1207/S153279 57PSPR0701_2 Miller, W. B. (1994). The relationship between childbearing motivations and attitude toward abortion among married men and women. Family Planning Perspectives, 26, 165 168. Neugarten, B. L. (1968). Adult personality: Toward a psychology of the life cycle. In B.L. Neugarten (Ed.), Middle age and aging: A reader in social psychology, (pp. 137 147 ) Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Neugarten, B.L., Moore, J.W., & Lowe, J.C. (1996). Age norms, age constraints and adult socialization. In D .A. Neugarten (Ed.), The meanings of age: selected papers of Bernice L. Neugarten (pp. 24 33). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

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84 Simula, A. (2008). The effects of emotional intensity on autobiographical memory. Psykologia, 43, 18 26. Spielberger, C. D. (1983). Manual for the State Trait Anxiety Inventory STAI (Form Y). Palo Alto: Consulting Psychologists Press. Whitehead, A. L. (2010). Sacred rites and civil rights: Religion's effect on attitudes toward same sex unions and the perceived cause of homosexuality. Social Science Quarterly 91 63 79. doi: 10.1111/j.1540 6237.2010.00681.x Wrosch, C., & Heckhausen, J. (1999). Control processes before and after passing a developmental deadl ine: Activation and deactivation of intimate relationship goals. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 77 415 427. doi: 10.1037/0022 3514.77.2.415 Zimmer Gembeck, M. J., & Petherick, J. (2006). Intimacy dating goals and relationship satisfaction during adolescence and emerging adulthood: Identity formation, age and sex as moderators. International Journal of Behavioral Development 30 167 177. doi: 10.1177/0165025406063636

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85 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Amanda Gesselman was born in LaGrange, Georgia in 1986. She graduated from Columbus State Uni versity in 2009 with a Bachelor of Science in psychology. Before Research Institute for the Behavioral and Social Sciences at Fort Benning, where she assisted Army r esearch p sychologists on various projects r elating to institutional tr aining and instructive techniques. Amanda received her Master of Science from the University of Florida in the fall of 2011.