Send to

Choose Destination
Psychol Bull. 2004 May;130(3):469-72; discussion 483-8.

Do people need self-esteem? Comment on Pyszczynski et al. (2004).

Author information

Research Center for Group Dynamics, Institute for Social Research, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA.


In spite of impressive empirical evidence consistent with aspects of terror management theory (TMT) reviewed by T. Pyszczynski, J. Greenberg, S. Solomon, J. Arndt, and J. Schimel (2004), several fundamental assumptions of the theory remain untested or lack support. Specifically, Pyszczynski et al. (2004) have not demonstrated that (a) people need self-esteem, (b) pursuing self-esteem is an effective means for reducing anxiety, (c) pursuing self-esteem helps people achieve their important goals, (d) having or pursuing self-esteem is the only way to deal with anxiety to achieve important goals, or (e) death is the real issue driving the pursuit of self-esteem. The authors suggest there is a different paradigm for thinking about death, one in which awareness of one's mortality serves as a precious reminder of the limited time one has to accomplish one's most important goals. All of these questions can be addressed with empirical research.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for American Psychological Association
Loading ...
Support Center