Conformity of Scripts: Mortality Salience and Sexual Scripts

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D)


Psychology and Special Education

Date of Award

Summer 2021


The present dissertation aimed to explore the relationship between terror management theory (TMT; Greenberg et al., 1990) and sexual script theory (Gagnon & Simon, 1973) in a sample of heterosexual adults. The goal of this study was to developed a new avenue of inquiry of human sexuality for TMT when accounting for the fundamentals of sexual script theory, namely the relationship between cultural, interpersonal, and intrapsychic scripts of sexuality, and the cultural, temporal, and gendered foundations of sexual behavior. To test this, heterosexual men and women were engaged in a mortality salience manipulation prior to recording their sexual scripts (Bowleg et al., 2015; Brooks, 2019). The hypotheses were not confirmed in the, as mortality salience did not seem to affect the sexual script. The present study demonstrated the weaknesses of both sexual script theory and TMT, as well as emphasized the importance of intentional participant recruitment methods.


Stephen Reysen

Subject Categories

Education | Educational Psychology