An experimental investigation of existential concerns in point-of-care testing for cardiovascular disease using a terror management theory framework
Dunne, Simon (2012) An experimental investigation of existential concerns in point-of-care testing for cardiovascular disease using a terror management theory framework. PhD thesis, Dublin City University.
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Recent research in Terror Management Theory (TMT) has found that mortality reminders below conscious awareness can lead to avoidant responses towards cancer-screening. Following this, the current research programme used a TMT framework to evaluate if mortality reminders could result in analogous responses towards a novel device for indicating Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) risk; the ―CVD Risk Biochip‖. Three central studies (Studies 1, 2 and 4) were designed to examine if various mortality reminders would elicit more avoidant responses towards the ―CVD Risk Biochip‖ than control topics. The third of these studies (Study 4) also investigated whether or not the nature of the device itself served to dissociate an individual towards CVD, thereby moderating existential concerns. An additional study (Study 3) examined whether or not one of the mortality reminders from the first two studies (Heart Attack Salience) leads to the suppression of death-related thoughts. When taken together, the results of these studies demonstrate that devices like the CVD Risk Biochip may have a beneficial effect on the potential uptake of screening behaviours generally and highlight the potential for cross-cultural variability in responses towards TMT methodologies. The findings of the programme also suggest some unique recommendations for the future study of TMT, including the performance of initial qualitative investigations of the cultural worldviews of a particular cohort before examining TMT processes and the necessity of controlling for the confounding effects of word frequency and word ambiguity in future "death-thought accessibility" research.
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