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

Record type: Article

The current research tested the proposition that nostalgia serves an existential function by bolstering a sense of meaning in life. Study 1found 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.

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Routledge, Clay, Arndt, Jamie, Wildschut, Tim, Sedikides, Constantine, Hart, Claire M., Juhl, Jacob, Vingerhoets, Ad J.J.M. and Schlotz, Wolff (2011) The past makes the present meaningful: nostalgia as an existential resource Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 101, (3), pp. 638-652. (doi:10.1037/a0024292). (PMID:21787094).

More information

Published date: September 2011
Keywords: nostalgia, meaning, well-being
Organisations: Human Wellbeing


Local EPrints ID: 183875
ISSN: 0022-3514
PURE UUID: 8685c809-a187-406d-8d3e-5f3ea1082f57

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Date deposited: 04 May 2011 10:34
Last modified: 18 Jul 2017 11:55

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Author: Clay Routledge
Author: Jamie Arndt
Author: Tim Wildschut
Author: Claire M. Hart
Author: Jacob Juhl
Author: Ad J.J.M. Vingerhoets
Author: Wolff Schlotz

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