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Ontological security is an aspect of emotional security and is a notion developed with existentialism. It is stable mental state derived from a sense of continuity in regard to the events in one's life. Giddens (1991) refers to ontological security as a sense of order and continuity in regard to an individual’s experiences. He argues that this is reliant on people’s ability to give meaning to their lives. Meaning is found in experiencing positive and stable emotions, and by avoiding chaos and anxiety (ibid; Elias, 1985). If an event occurs that is not consistent with the meaning of an individual's life, this will threaten that individual's ontological security. Ontological security also involves having a positive view of self, the world and the future.

Ontological Security Threatened by DeathEdit

Philip A. Mellor talks about this concept in regard to thanatology, arguing that when death strikes, it causes people to “question the meaningfulness and reality of the social frameworks in which they participate, shattering their ontological security” (1993, p13).

Ontological Security Associated With Home OwnershipEdit

"It has been said that people need the confidence, continuity and trust in the world which comprise ontological security in order to lead happy and fulfilled lives, and furthermore that ontological security can be attained more through owner occupied than rented housing.".[1]

Ontological Security of ChildrenEdit

Children are more likely to have a positive ontological security when the child's parents own their own home.[2] Reportedly, home ownership also improves parenting and allows for a future transfer of assets, thus facilitating ontological security.

Ontological Security in Adult LearnersEdit

"Adult educators also must secure the learners’ ontological security against existential anxieties by associating learners’ network and groups based on trust".[3]

See alsoEdit


  • Relates to the concept of ontology, the study of the nature of being, reality, and substance

(Christian Apologetics & Research Ministry Website, nd).

  • Ronald David Laing Self and Others, published in 1961
  • Definition: A stable mental state derived from a sense of continuity and order in events. (Tony Bilton et al., Introductory Sociology, 3rd edition. London, Macmillan, 1996, p665)

External linksEdit

es:Seguridad ontológica pt:Segurança ontológica zh:安全感

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