When bittersweet turns sour: adverse effects of nostalgia on habitual worriers

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Nostalgic memories can be pleasant, albeit bittersweet, and have been found beneficial for well-being. This study demonstrated that for individuals who habitually worry, nostalgia may not be such a nourishing experience. Nostalgia was experimentally induced using a visual imagery task and resulted in positive affect. Although this was also the case for participants who habitually worry, these individuals subsequently showed more signs of anxiety and depression than habitual worriers in a control condition. The findings fit within a control theoretical perspective; as habitual worriers' actual chronic state of anxiety contrasts with nostalgic memories of a carefree past, this may instigate further rumination leading to distress. A more present-oriented time perspective, such as mindfulness, is discussed as being beneficial for habitual worriers.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)285-289
Number of pages5
JournalEuropean Journal of Social Psychology
Issue number3
Early online date13 Mar 2012
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2012


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