Terror Management in Medical Culture

  • Brent Dean RobbinsEmail author


In the case of medicine, the role of doctor can be understood as a cultural hero-project. When the self-esteem of the physician is weakened, he or she is exposed to increased risk of burnout. To protect self-esteem, physicians can become prone to cognitive biases to protect self-worth, which can lead to “medical narcissism” and “defensive medicine” based on self-serving attributions that raise the risk of medical error. Worldview defense in medicine is linked to racism, sexism, and stigmatization of certain out-groups by medical professionals. Finally, medical scientism can operate as a form of existential dogmatism that, while serving as a worldview defense for medical professionals, can nevertheless undermine the ends of science as an open-ended inquiry.


Terror Management Worldview Defense physiciansPhysicians Religious beliefsReligious Beliefs scientismScientism 
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© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyPoint Park UniversityPittsburghUSA

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