Selecting a recent terror event, one occurring with the last five (5) years, examine the practicality of the terror management theory (TMT). Work should be submitted in a Word document (doc. or docx.) or other compatible word processing document, and be , excluding the and . Scholarly sources should be cited both in-text and on the reference page of the submission. A academic, scholarly sources are required to be cited in the work. Submissions should be formatted per APA standards.

Title: Examination of the Practicality of Terror Management Theory (TMT) in the Context of a Recent Terror Event


Terror management theory (TMT) is a psychological theory that seeks to explain human responses to the awareness of mortality and the fear of death. According to TMT, people manage their existential terror by creating and adhering to cultural worldviews and engaging in self-esteem bolstering activities. This theory has been widely applied to understand various phenomena, including political beliefs, extremist behaviors, and responses to terrorism. In this paper, we will examine the practicality of TMT by applying it to a recent terror event that occurred within the past five years. The selected event will serve as a case study to illustrate how TMT can provide insights into individuals’ reactions and behaviors in the face of terrorism.

Overview of Terror Management Theory:

TMT posits that humans have an innate fear of death, which is managed through the adoption of cultural worldviews that imbue life with meaning, purpose, and value. These cultural systems, such as religion, national identity, or political ideology, serve as symbolic immortality buffers that provide a sense of continuity beyond physical existence. Additionally, TMT suggests that individuals strive for self-esteem to shield themselves from the anxiety associated with mortality salience. Terror management operates by minimizing existential anxiety through these two main processes: cultural worldview protection and self-esteem maintenance.

Application of Terror Management Theory to the Selected Terror Event:

In order to assess the practicality of TMT, we will analyze the response to a recent terror event. The 2019 Christchurch mosque shootings in New Zealand will serve as our case study. On March 15, 2019, a white supremacist attacked two mosques in Christchurch, killing 51 people and injuring many more. This event not only shocked New Zealand but also drew global attention to the rise of far-right extremism and Islamophobia.

Examining the cultural worldview protection aspect of TMT, the attack on the mosques threatened the cultural worldview of New Zealand as a peaceful and inclusive society. The country prided itself on its multiculturalism and tolerance towards different religious beliefs. This terror event challenged the dominant narrative of New Zealand’s social cohesion and forced the nation to confront the reality of extremist ideologies within its borders. The public discourse that followed the attack emphasized the need for unity, interfaith dialogue, and the rejection of hate speech, rather than allowing the incident to erode their cultural worldview of inclusivity.

Moreover, the Christchurch mosque shootings prompted an international wave of solidarity, with people from different countries expressing their support for the Muslim community and condemning terrorism and hate crimes. This demonstrates how individuals, both within New Zealand and abroad, attempt to protect their cultural worldviews in the face of a terror event by reaffirming core values and promoting societal cohesion.

The second component of TMT, self-esteem maintenance, can also be observed in the aftermath of the Christchurch terror attack. Individuals seek to bolster their self-esteem in order to alleviate existential anxiety. In response to the attack, New Zealanders, as well as people from around the world, engaged in acts of compassion, solidarity, and support for the affected community. This behavior not only serves as a means of self-esteem enhancement but also reinforces a positive social identity as individuals align themselves with the moral imperative of opposing violence and discrimination.


The application of terror management theory to the Christchurch mosque shootings illustrates the practicality and relevance of this theory in understanding human responses to acts of terror. Through the lens of TMT, we can recognize how individuals and societies strive to protect their cultural worldviews and maintain self-esteem in the face of the existential threat posed by terrorism. The solidarity shown in response to the attack reflects the human need to reaffirm shared values and collectively reject extremist ideologies.

This analysis highlights the viability of TMT as a framework to comprehend various aspects of terrorism and counterterrorism efforts. By understanding the psychological mechanisms underpinning individuals’ responses to terrorism, policymakers, security agencies, and mental health professionals can develop interventions and strategies to alleviate anxiety, strengthen cultural resilience, and foster a sense of collective security and well-being. Further research combining TMT with other theories and empirical studies is crucial to advance our understanding of the complex dynamics between terrorism, psychological processes, and societal responses.