Ethics. Research. Community.

Defenders of a lost cause: terror management and violent resistance to the disengagement plan.

Personality and social psychology bulletin. 
[Record Source: PubMed]
Two studies, conducted 3 months before the Israeli pullout from the Gaza Strip and the Northern West Bank, examined whether reminders of death would lead right-wing Israelis to endorse violent resistance against the disengagement plan. More specifically, we hypothesized that this reaction would be particularly strong among participants high in denial--those who were unable to come to terms with the Israeli withdrawal. In Study 1 (N = 63), right-wing Israeli undergraduates were primed with death and asked to indicate whether they view violent resistance as legitimate and whether they would be willing to partake in such violence. In Study 2 (N = 42), Israeli settlers in the Gaza Strip completed a similar procedure as in Study 1. In both studies, primes of death led to greater support of violent resistance, but only among participants high in denial. The discussion examines the applicability of terror management theory to understanding real-life political crises.
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