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Mortality Salience of Birthdays on Day of Death in the Major Leagues

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The authors assessed the relationship of mortality salience, as represented by birthdays, on the day of death. Preliminary studies considered the role of possible artifacts such as seasonality of birth and death, and time units for evaluation. On the basis of terror management theory's concept of “mortality salience,” the authors hypothesized that famous people, in this case Major League Baseball (MLB) players, would be more likely to die on or after their birthdays than would be expected by chance (the “birthday blues”), and that the greater their fame, as represented by induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame, the greater the concentration of deaths shortly after birthdays. The results supported the hypothesis. Theoretical underpinnings of these results and practical implications were discussed.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Departments of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Psychology, Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan, USA 2: Department of Obstetrics, Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan, USA

Publication date: February 1, 2009

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