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Darren Dahl (Editor in Chief)Eileen FischerGita JoharVicki Morwitz

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The Sweet Escape: Effects of Mortality Salience on Consumption Quantities for High- and Low-Self-Esteem Consumers

Naomi Mandel, Dirk Smeesters
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/587626 309-323 First published online: 1 August 2008


This research demonstrates that exposure to death-related stimuli can increase consumers' amounts of purchasing and consumption. We demonstrate that consumers who have been recently reminded of their own impending mortality wish to purchase higher quantities of food products (and actually eat higher quantities) than do their control counterparts. This effect occurs primarily among low-self-esteem consumers. We explain our findings in terms of escape from self-awareness. Low (but not high) self-esteem participants overconsume in response to a mortality salience activation as a means to escape from self-awareness. We also address alternative explanations for these effects.

  • Mortality Salience
  • Self-Concept
  • Cognitive Processes
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