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J Pers Soc Psychol. 2011 Sep;101(3):638-52. doi: 10.1037/a0024292.

The past makes the present meaningful: nostalgia as an existential resource.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, North Dakota State University, Fargo, ND 58105-5075, USA. Clay.Routledge@ndsu.edu

Abstract

The present research tested the proposition that nostalgia serves an existential function by bolstering a sense of meaning in life. Study 1 found that nostalgia was positively associated with a sense of meaning in life. Study 2 experimentally demonstrated that nostalgia increases a sense of meaning in life. In both studies, the link between nostalgia and increased meaning in life was mediated by feelings of social connectedness. Study 3 evidenced that threatened meaning increases nostalgia. Study 4 illustrated that nostalgia, in turn, reduces defensiveness following a meaning threat. Finally, Studies 5 and 6 showed that nostalgia disrupts the link between meaning deficits and compromised psychological well-being. Collectively, these findings indicate that the provision of existential meaning is a pivotal function of nostalgia.

PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2011 APA, all rights reserved.

PMID:
21787094
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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