What is it about?

Lonely people report deficits in meaning in life. We provide evidence that nostalgia, a bittersweet emotion that entails reflecting sentimentally on the past, combats loneliness by restoring a sense of meaning for lonely people.

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Why is it important?

Meaning life is important for psychological health and well-being. Our research suggests that nostalgia may be a simple way to help lonely people find meaning in life. In bolstering meaning in life nostalgia could be a useful strategy for combating loneliness and promoting psychological health.


I feel like this research is timely because loneliness has been on the rise for a number of years and the pandemic has likely exacerbated this. Loneliness is associated with feeling like your life lacks meaning and purpose. I think our findings suggest that nostalgia could be a simple and accessible strategy to restore meaning in life and combat loneliness. Our intention though is not to advocate that nostalgia is a standalone strategy for meeting the need for meaning and combating loneliness. Rather we think that it is best to acknowledge that nostalgia is a temporary strategy to fortify MIL and argue that nostalgia’s power resides in encouraging more lasting meaning-making strategies, which is something we plan to pursue in the near future.

Andrew Abeyta
Rutgers University Camden

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Nostalgia restores meaning in life for lonely people., Emotion, November 2022, American Psychological Association (APA),
DOI: 10.1037/emo0001190.
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