Advertisement

Journal of Happiness Studies

, Volume 12, Issue 4, pp 531–545 | Cite as

A Retrospective Survey of Childhood Experiences

  • Krystine Irene BatchoEmail author
  • Andrea M. Nave
  • Meghan L. DaRin
Research Paper

Abstract

The present study introduces a balanced survey of a range of behavioral and emotional experiences to assess impressions of a person’s childhood. Ninety-one undergraduates and 70 of their parents rated exposure to positive and negative social and solitary experiences. The survey demonstrated acceptable internal consistency and 4-week test–retest reliability, and scores correlated with Zimbardo’s Time Perspective Inventory of temporally based beliefs and values, Batcho’s inventory of personal nostalgia, and Holbrook’s measure of historical nostalgia. Correlations with time perspective and nostalgia inventories suggest that favorable impressions of childhood are associated with benefits such as social connectedness, personal continuity, and health-promoting behaviors and adverse impressions with less adaptive impacts such as unsatisfactory relationships, discontinuity, and distress. Ratings of social experiences were correlated more closely with childhood happiness than were solitary experiences. The Childhood Survey shows promise as a tool to expand the exploration of childhood experiences beyond adverse events to encompass components that comprise a happy childhood.

Keywords

Happy childhood Nostalgia Time perspective 

References

  1. Anspach, C. K. (1934). Medical dissertation on nostalgia by Johannes Hofer, 1688. Bulletin of the Institute of the History of Medicine, 2, 376–391.Google Scholar
  2. Bassin, D. (1993). Nostalgic objects of our affection: mourning, memory, and maternal subjectivity. Psychoanalytic Psychology, 10, 425–439.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Batcho, K. I. (1995). Nostalgia: A psychological perspective. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 80, 131–143.Google Scholar
  4. Batcho, K. I. (1998). Personal nostalgia, world view, memory, and emotionality. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 87, 411–432.Google Scholar
  5. Batcho, K. I. (1999, August). Nostalgia: The bittersweet history of a psychological concept. Paper presented at the meeting of the American Psychological Association, Boston, MA.Google Scholar
  6. Batcho, K. I. (2004). Nostalgia: Retreat or support in difficult times? In Proceedings of the Hawaii international conference on social sciences, Honolulu, HI.Google Scholar
  7. Batcho, K. I. (2006). What comes to mind in nostalgic reminiscence? In Proceedings of the Hawaii international conference on social sciences, Honolulu, HI.Google Scholar
  8. Batcho, K. I. (2007). Nostalgia and the emotional tone and content of song lyrics. The American Journal of Psychology, 120, 361–381.Google Scholar
  9. Batcho, K. I., DaRin, M. L., Nave, A. M., & Yaworsky, R. R. (2008). Nostalgia and identity in song lyrics. Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts, 2, 236–244.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Best, J., & Nelson, E. E. (1985). Nostalgia and discontinuity: A test of the Davis hypothesis. Sociology and Social Research, 69(2), 221–233.Google Scholar
  11. Brewin, C. R., Andrews, B., & Gotlib, I. H. (1993). Psychopathology and early experience: A reappraisal of retrospective reports. Psychological Bulletin, 113, 82–98.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Brewin, C. R., Firth-Cozens, J., Furnham, A., & McManus, C. (1992). Self-criticism in adulthood and recalled childhood experience. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 101, 561–566.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Burton, R. V. (1970). Validity of retrospective reports assessed by the multitrait-multimethod analysis. Developmental Psychology Monograph, 3, 1–15.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Campbell, M. A., & Porter, S. (2002). Pinpointing reality: How well can people judge true and mistaken emotional childhood memories? Canadian Journal of Behavioural Science, 34, 217–229.Google Scholar
  15. Cavanaugh, J. C. (1989). I have this feeling about everyday memory aging. Educational Gerontology, 15, 597–605.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Cheng, H., & Furnham, A. (2004). Perceived parental rearing style, self-esteem and self-criticism as predictors of happiness. Journal of Happiness Studies, 5, 1–21.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Cox, B. J., Enns, M. W., & Clara, I. P. (2000). The Parental Bonding Instrument: Confirmatory evidence for a three-factor model in a psychiatric clinical sample and in the National Comorbidity Survey. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, 35, 353–357.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Davis, F. (1979). Yearning for yesterday: A sociology of nostalgia. NY: Free Press.Google Scholar
  19. De Los Reyes, A., & Kazdin, A. E. (2005). Informant discrepancies in the assessment of childhood psychopathology: A critical review, theoretical framework, and recommendations for further study. Psychological Bulletin, 131, 483–509.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Flouri, E. (2004). Subjective well-being in midlife: The role of involvement of and closeness to parents in childhood. Journal of Happiness Studies, 5, 335–358.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Hagerty, B. M., Williams, R. A., & Oe, H. (2002). Childhood antecedents of adult sense of belonging. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 58, 793–801.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Hamilton, J. M., Kives, K. D., Micevski, V., & Grace, S. L. (2003). Time perspective and health-promoting behavior in a cardiac rehabilitation population. Behavioral Medicine, 28, 132–139.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Hertz, D. G. (1990). Trauma and nostalgia: New aspects on the coping of aging Holocaust survivors. Israel Journal of Psychiatry and Related Sciences, 27, 189–198.Google Scholar
  24. Holbrook, M. B., & Schindler, R. M. (1994). Age, sex, and attitude toward the past as predictors of consumers’ aesthetic tastes for cultural products. Journal of Marketing Research, 31, 412–422.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Holman, E. A., & Silver, R. C. (1998). Getting “stuck” in the past: Temporal orientation and coping with trauma. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 74, 1146–1163.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Jackson, S. W. (1986). Melancholia and depression: From Hippocratic times to modern times. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  27. Kaplan, H. A. (1987). The psychopathology of nostalgia. The Psychoanalytic Review, 74, 465–486.Google Scholar
  28. Marcenko, M. O., Kemp, S. P., & Larson, N. C. (2000). Childhood experiences of abuse, later substance use, and parenting outcomes among low-income mothers. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 70, 316–326.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. McCann, W. H. (1941). Nostalgia: A review of the literature. Psychological Bulletin, 38, 165–182.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. McCranie, E. W., & Bass, J. D. (1984). Childhood family antecedents of dependency and self-criticism: Implications for depression. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 93, 3–8.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Mills, M. A., & Coleman, P. G. (1994). Nostalgic memories in dementia—a case study. International Journal of Aging and Human Development, 38, 203–219.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Moran, P. M., Bifulco, A., Ball, C., Jacobs, C., & Benaim, K. (2002). Exploring psychological abuse in childhood: I. Developing a new interview scale. Bulletin of the Menninger Clinic, 66, 213–240.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Parker, G. (1990). The Parental Bonding Instrument: A decade of research. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, 25, 281–282.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Parker, G., Tupling, H., & Brown, L. B. (1979). A parental bonding instrument. British Journal of Medical Psychology, 52, 1–10.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Perlman, D. (2007). The best of times, the worst of times: The place of close relationships in psychology and our daily lives. Canadian Psychology, 48, 7–18.Google Scholar
  36. Peters, R. (1985). Reflections on the origin and aim of nostalgia. Journal of Analytical Psychology, 30, 135–148.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Plomin, R., McClearn, G. E., Pedersen, N. L., Nesselroade, J. R., & Bergeman, C. S. (1988). Genetic influence on childhood family environment perceived retrospectively from the last half of the life span. Developmental Psychology, 24, 738–745.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Pluck, G., Lee, K., Lauber, H. E., Fox, J. M., Spence, S. A., & Parks, R. W. (2008). Time perspective, depression, and substance abuse among the homeless. The Journal of Psychology, 142, 159–168.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Random House. (1966). Random House dictionary of the English Language. NY: Random House.Google Scholar
  40. Robbins, L. C. (1963). The accuracy of parental recall of aspects of child development and of child rearing practices. Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 66, 261–270.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Rosen, G. (1975). Nostalgia: A ‘forgotten’ psychological disorder. Psychological Medicine, 5, 340–354.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Sedikides, C., Wildschut, T., Gaertner, L., Routledge, C., & Arndt, J. (2008). Nostalgia as enabler of self-continuity. In F. Sani (Ed.), Self continuity: Individual and collective perspectives (pp. 227–239). New York, NY: Psychology Press.Google Scholar
  43. Smith, N., Lam, D., Bifulco, A., & Checkley, S. (2002). Childhood experience of care and abuse questionnaire (CECA.Q): Validation of a screening instrument for childhood adversity in clinical populations. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, 37, 572–579.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Stern, B. B. (1992). Historical and personal nostalgia in advertising text: The Fin de siecle effect. Journal of Advertising, 21(4), 11–22.Google Scholar
  45. Strauman, T. J. (1992). Self-guides, autobiographical memory, and anxiety and dysphoria: Toward a cognitive model of vulnerability to emotional distress. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 101, 87–95.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Tajima, E. A., Herrenkohl, T. I., Huang, B., & Whitney, S. D. (2004). Measuring child maltreatment: A comparison of prospective parent reports and retrospective adolescent reports. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 74, 424–435.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Werman, D. S. (1977). Normal and pathological nostalgia. Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 25, 387–398.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Widom, C. S., & Morris, S. (1997). Accuracy of adult recollections of childhood victimization: Part 2. Childhood sexual abuse. Psychological Assessment, 9, 34–46.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Widom, C. S., & Shepard, R. L. (1996). Accuracy of adult recollections of childhood victimization: Part 1. Childhood physical abuse. Psychological Assessment, 8, 412–421.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Wildschut, T., Sedikides, C., Arndt, J., & Routledge, C. (2006). Nostalgia: Content, triggers, functions. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 91, 975–993.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Wilhelm, K., Niven, H., Parker, G., & Hadzi-Pavlovic, D. (2005). The stability of the Parental Bonding Instrument over a 20-year period. Psychological Medicine, 35, 387–393.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Wilson, J. L. (1999). Nostalgic narratives: An exploration of Black nostalgia for the 1950s. Narrative Inquiry, 9, 303–325.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Wilson, A. E., & Ross, M. (2003). The identity function of autobiographical memory: Time is on our side. Memory, 11, 137–149.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Zhou, X., Sedikides, C., Wildschut, T., & Gao, D.-G. (2008). Counteracting loneliness: On the restorative function of nostalgia. Psychological Science, 19, 1023–1029.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Zimbardo, P. G., & Boyd, J. N. (1999). Putting time in perspective: A valid, reliable individual-differences metric. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 77, 1271–1288.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Krystine Irene Batcho
    • 1
    Email author
  • Andrea M. Nave
    • 1
  • Meghan L. DaRin
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyLe Moyne CollegeSyracuseUSA

Personalised recommendations