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Nostalgia counteracts self-discontinuity and restores self-continuity

Sedikides, Constantine, Wildschut, T., Routledge, C. and Arndt, J (2015) Nostalgia counteracts self-discontinuity and restores self-continuity European Journal of Social Psychology, 45, (1), pp. 52-61. (doi:10.1002/ejsp.2073).

Record type: Article


Nostalgia is a resource that functions, in part, as a response to self-discontinuity and a source of self-continuity. We tested and supported this regulatory role of nostalgia in the tradition of establishing a causal chain. In Study 1, we examined the naturalistic association between events precipitating self-discontinuity and nostalgia. Self-discontinuity, especially when stemming from negative life events, was associated with higher proneness to nostalgia. In Study 2, we experimentally induced negative self-discontinuity (i.e. relatively disruptive), positive self-discontinuity (i.e. relatively non-disruptive) or self-continuity (i.e. neutral non-disruptiveness) and subsequently assessed state levels of nostalgia. Only negative self-discontinuity evoked heightened nostalgia. In Study 3, we experimentally induced nostalgia (versus ordinary autobiographical recollection) and assessed self-continuity. Nostalgia augmented self-continuity. In Study 4, we experimentally induced nostalgia (versus ordinary autobiographical recollection versus positive autobiographical recollection) and assessed self-continuity. Again, nostalgia augmented self-continuity and did so above and beyond positive affect. Here, we ruled out demand characteristics as a rival hypothesis. Taken together, the findings clarify the role of nostalgia in the dynamic between self-discontinuity and self-continuity and elucidate the restorative properties of nostalgia for the self-system

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Accepted/In Press date: 8 September 2014
e-pub ahead of print date: 3 November 2014
Published date: February 2015


Local EPrints ID: 375020
ISSN: 0046-2772
PURE UUID: 456064fe-358e-46d2-8b52-f8a37f1b93d9

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Date deposited: 10 Mar 2015 11:45
Last modified: 17 Jul 2017 21:21

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Author: T. Wildschut
Author: C. Routledge
Author: J Arndt

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