TMT & TikTok 

Marisa Gonzales, Ivan Ruiz and Dr. Melissa Soenke 


Terror management theory posits that as humans, our psychological security depends on our ability to effectively cope with the anxiety aroused by the awareness of our own mortality. The theory proposes that we manage this anxiety by maintaining faith in culturally derived world-views that provide meaning, structure, and standards of value. We gain self-esteem when we feel like we are living up to those standards. Social media can provide a platform for creating a positive self-image, increasing self-esteem, and creating a seemingly immortal online presence.  TikTok is one of the newest social media platforms, and curates a specific algorithm that is curated uniquely towards each user. In this way, a user’s “for you page” can serve as a source of validation for one’s cultural worldview and a source of self-esteem.  This study will investigate how reminders of death impact people’s interest in using TikTok, and how self-esteem and life satisfaction impact this relationship.  Participants with TikTok accounts will be recruited from CSUCI Psychology classes using the SONA system and will receive course credit/extra credit for participation.  They will complete an online survey through Qualtrics.  Participants will be randomly assigned to be reminded of death or a control topic, and then their interest in using TikTok, as well as self-esteem and life satisfaction will be measured.  The hypothesis for this study is that participants who have lower self-esteem and life satisfaction will show more interest in TikTok following reminders of death than individuals with higher self-esteem and life satisfaction, and those not reminded of death.


Session 2 – 3:00p.m. – 4:15p.m.

Room C – Sierra 2411 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *