Terror Management Theory
A theory that posits that to manage the potential for terror engendered by the awareness of mortality, humans sustain faith in worldviews which provide a sense that they are significant beings in an enduring, meaningful world rather than mere animals fated only to obliteration upon death.
Cultural conceptions of reality serve the vital function of buffering the anxiety that results from awareness of human vulnerability and mortality.
Greenberg, J., & Arndt, J. (2011). Terror management theory. In Van Lange, P.A.M., Kruglanski, A.W. & Higgins, E.T. (Eds.). Handbook of theories of social psychology: Volumes 1 & 2. London: Sage. pp. 398-415.
Rosenblatt, A., Greenberg, J., Solomon, S., Pyszczynski, T., & Lyon, D. (1989). Evidence for terror management theory: I. The effects of mortality salience on reactions to those who violate or uphold cultural values. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 57(4), 681-690. doi: 10.1037/0022-35188.8.131.521