Skip to main content

Being Here and Now: The Benefits of Belonging in Space and Time

Abstract

Research suggests that a sense of belonging is a critical prerequisite of happiness and well-being. While some have focused on belonging provided by relationships, other work demonstrates the value of belonging in certain places. In the current research we join these efforts to understand belonging by offering a novel framework for exploring an understudied but no less fundamental aspect of human experience—time. We situate this framework within an existential analysis of human action and test general predictions about the psychological value of experiencing a sense of belonging in time, what we call temporal rootedness. Two samples (Studies 1 and 2) collected across cultures provide converging evidence that temporal rootedness is a unique psychological phenomenon that is predictive of personal psychological well-being. Two additional experiments (Studies 3 and 4) offer promising evidence that temporal rootedness can be situationally induced and threatened with consequences for well-being. These findings demonstrate the potential value of further exploration into this sense of belonging.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1

Notes

  1. Nineteen participants did not indicate their age and 18 participants did not complete the remaining demographics items. Thus, the reported sample characteristics do not reflect the entire sample included in primary analyses.

  2. The Root Mean Square Error of Approximation (RMSEA) assesses the extent to which a model misrepresents the observed data, with 0 being the theoretical ideal (i.e., a perfect model), .05 reflecting a good fit, and any value below .08 reflecting acceptable fit. The Standardized Root Mean Square Residual (SRMR) reflects the extent to which the covariances in the model differ from those in the full data, and here any value below .10 is considered acceptable. The Comparative Fit Index (CFI) assesses the extent to which the specified model improves upon a baseline model in which observed variables are assumed to be independent: values above .90 are considered to have reasonably good fit. The Tucker-Lewis Index (TLI), also known as the Non-Normed Fit Index (NNFI), is similar to the CFI except that it adjusts for model complexity; again, a value greater than .90 is considered a good degree of fit.

References

  • Ashton, M. C., Lee, K., Goldberg, L. R., & de Vries, R. E. (2009). Higher order factors of personality: Do they exist? Personality and Social Psychology Review, 13(2), 79–91.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Baerger, D. R., & McAdams, D. P. (1999). Life story coherence and its relation to psychological well-being. Narrative Inquiry, 9, 69–96.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Baldwin, M., Biernat, M., & Landau, M. J. (2015). Remembering the real me: Nostalgia offers a window to the intrinsic self. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 108(1), 128–147. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0038033.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Baldwin, M., White, M. H., & Sullivan, D. (2018). Nostalgia for America’s past can buffer collective guilt. European Journal of Social Psychology, 48(4), 433–446.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Bluck, S., Alea, N., Habermas, T., & Rubin, D. C. (2005). A tale of three functions: The self-reported uses of autobiographical memory. Social Cognition, 23(1), 91–117. https://doi.org/10.1521/soco.23.1.91.59198.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Boyd, J. N., & Zimbardo, P. G. (2005). Time perspective, health, and risk taking. Understanding behavior in the context of time: Theory, research, and application (pp. 85–107). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Publishers.

    Google Scholar 

  • Brockmeier, J. (2000). Autobiographical time. Narrative Inquiry, 10(1), 51–73. https://doi.org/10.1075/ni.10.1.03bro.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Brown, T. A. (2014). Confirmatory factor analysis for applied research. New York: Guilford Publications.

    Google Scholar 

  • Buhrmester, M., Kwang, T., & Gosling, S. D. (2011). Amazon’s Mechanical Turk: A new source of inexpensive, yet high-quality, data? Perspectives on Psychological Science, 6(1), 3–5.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Cheung, W.-Y., Sedikides, C., Wildschut, T., Tausch, N., & Ayanian, A. H. (2017). Collective nostalgia is associated with stronger outgroup-directed anger and participation in ingroup-favoring collective action. Journal of Social and Political Psychology, 5(2), 301–319.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Diener, E., Emmons, R. A., Larsem, R. J., & Griffin, S. (1985). The satisfaction with life scale. Journal of Personality Assessment, 49(1), 71–75. https://doi.org/10.1207/s15327752jpa4901_13.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Diener, E., Wirtz, D., Tov, W., Kim-Prieto, C., Choi, D. won., Oishi, S., et al. (2010). New well-being measures: Short scales to assess flourishing and positive and negative feelings. Social Indicators Research, 97(2), 143–156. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11205-009-9493-y.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Eaton, W. W., Smith, C., Ybarra, M., Muntaner, C., & Tien, A. (2004). Center for epidemiologic studies depression scale: Review and revision (CESD and CESD-R) (press release).

  • Enders, C. K. (2001). The performance of the full information maximum likelihood estimator in multiple regression models with missing data. Educational and Psychological Measurement, 61(5), 713–740. https://doi.org/10.1177/0013164401615001.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Enders, C. K., & Bandalos, D. L. (2001). The relative performance of full information maximum likelihood estimation for missing data in structural equation models. Structural Equation Modeling, 8(3), 430–457.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Farrell, S. J., Aubry, T., & Coulombe, D. (2003). Neighborhoods and neighbors: Do they contribute to personal well-being? Journal of Community Psychology, 32(1), 9–25. https://doi.org/10.1002/jcop.10082.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Gagné, M. (2003). Autonomy support and need satisfaction in the motivation and well-being of gymnasts. Journal of Applied Sport Psychology, 15(4), 372–390.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Gibson, J. J. (1978). The ecological approach to the visual perception of pictures. Leonardo, 11(3), 227–235.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Habermas, T., & Bluck, S. (2000). Getting a life: The emergence of the life story in adolescence. Psychological Bulletin, 126(5), 748–769. https://doi.org/10.1037/0033-2909.126.5.748.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Hair, J. F., Anderson, R. E., Tatham, R. L., & Black, W. C. (1998). Multivariate data analysis. Englewood Cliff. New Jersey, USA, 5(3), 207–2019.

    Google Scholar 

  • Hautzinger, M., & Bailer, M. (1993). Allgemeine Depressionsskala. [The German version of center for epidemiologic studies depression scale.]. Göttingen: Hogrefe.

    Google Scholar 

  • Heidegger, M. (1927/1962). Being and time (John Macquarrie & Edward Robinson, Trans.). San Francisco: Harper and Row.

  • Henrich, J., Heine, S. J., & Norenzayan, A. (2010). Most people are not WEIRD. Nature, 466, 29. https://doi.org/10.1038/466029a.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Henriques, G. (2017). Character adaptation systems theory: A new big five for personality and psychotherapy. Review of General Psychology, 21, 9–22. https://doi.org/10.1037/gpr0000097.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Hidalgo, M. C., & Hernández, B. (2001). Place attachment: Conceptual and empirical questions. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 21(3), 273–281. https://doi.org/10.1006/jevp.2001.0221.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Hu, L-t, & Bentler, P. M. (1999). Cutoff criteria for fit indexes in covariance structure analysis: Conventional criteria versus new alternatives. Structural Equation Modeling: A Multidisciplinary Journal, 6(1), 1–55. https://doi.org/10.1080/10705519909540118.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Iyer, A., & Jetten, J. (2011). What’s left behind: Identity continuity moderates the effect of nostalgia on well-being and life choices. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 101(1), 94–108. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0022496.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Kashdan, T. B., Gallagher, M. W., Silvia, P. J., Winterstein, B. P., Breen, W. E., Terhar, D., et al. (2009). The curiosity and exploration inventory-II: Development, factor structure, and psychometrics. Journal of Research in Personality, 43(6), 987–998.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Keefer, L. A., Stewart, S. A., Palitsky, R., & Sullivan, D. (2017). Time–space distanciation: An empirically supported integrative framework for the cultural psychology of time and space. Time & Society. https://doi.org/10.1177/0961463X17716736.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Kernis, M. H., & Goldman, B. M. (2006). A multicomponent conceptualization of authenticity: Theory and research. Advances in Experimental Social Psychology, 38, 283–357.

    Google Scholar 

  • Keyes, C. L. M., & Haidt, J. (Eds.). (2003). Introduction: human flourishing—the study of that which makes life worthwhile. In Flourishing: Positive psychology and the life well-lived. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

  • Kosterman, R., & Feshbach, S. (1989). Toward a measure of patriotic and nationalistic attitudes. Political Psychology, 10(2), 257–274. https://doi.org/10.2307/3791647.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Latour, B. (2005). Reassembling the social: An introduction to actor-network theory. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Lewicka, M. (2014). In search of roots: Memory as an enabler of place attachment. In L. C. Manzo & P. Devine-Wright (Eds.), Place attachment: Advances in theory, methods, and applications (pp. 49–60). New York: Routledge.

    Google Scholar 

  • Lewin, K. (1936). Principles of topological psychology (F. Heider & G. M Heider, Trans.). NewYork, NY: McGraw Hill.

  • Little, T. D., Cunningham, W. A., Shahar, G., & Widaman, K. F. (2002). To parcel or not to parcel: Exploring the question, weighing the merits. Structural Equation Modeling: A Multidisciplinary Journal, 9(2), 151–173. https://doi.org/10.1207/S15328007SEM0902_1.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Low, S. M., & Altman, I. (1992). Place attachment. In I. Altman & S. M. Low (Eds.), Place attachment (pp. 1–12). Boston, MA: Springer.

    Google Scholar 

  • McAdams, D. P. (2006). The problem of narrative coherence. Journal of Constructivist Psychology, 19, 109–125.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • McAdams, D. P., & McLean, K. C. (2013). Narrative identity. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 22(3), 233–238. https://doi.org/10.1177/0963721413475622.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • McAdams, D. P., & Pals, J. L. (2006). A new big five: Fundamental principles for an integrative science of personality. American Psychologist, 61(3), 204–217.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • McLean, K. C., Syed, M., Pasupathi, M., Adler, J. M., Dunlop, W. L., Drustrup, D., et al. (2019). The empirical structure of narrative identity: The initial big three. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. https://doi.org/10.1037/pspp0000247.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Morrison, M., Tay, L., & Diener, E. (2011). Subjective well-being and national satisfaction: Findings from a worldwide survey. Psychological Science, 22(2), 166–171. https://doi.org/10.1177/0956797610396224.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Muncer, S. J. (2011). The general factor of personality: Evaluating the evidence from meta-analysis, confirmatory factor analysis and evolutionary theory. Personality and Individual Differences, 51(6), 775–778.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Neubauer, A. B., & Voss, A. (2016). Validation and revision of a German version of the balanced measure of psychological needs scale. Journal of Individual Differences, 37(1), 56–72. https://doi.org/10.1027/1614-0001/a000188.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Oldenburg, R. (1989). The great good place: Café, coffee shops, community centers, beauty parlors, general stores, bars, hangouts, and how they get you through the day. St Paul: Paragon House Publishers.

    Google Scholar 

  • Peetz, J., & Wilson, A. E. (2013). The post-birthday world: Consequences of temporal landmarks for temporal self-appraisal and motivation. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 104(2), 249–266. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0030477.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Peetz, J., & Wilson, A. E. (2014). Marking time: Selective use of temporal landmarks as barriers between current and future selves. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 40(1), 44–56. https://doi.org/10.1177/0146167213501559.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Rahm, T., Heise, E., & Schuldt, M. (2017). Measuring the frequency of emotions—validation of the Scale of Positive and Negative Experience (SPANE) in Germany. PLoS ONE, 12(2), e0171288.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Ricoeur, P. (1991). Narrative identity. Philosophy Today, 35(1), 73–81. https://doi.org/10.5840/philtoday199135136.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Robbins, R. N., & Bryan, A. (2004). Relationships between future orientation, impulsive sensation seeking, and risk behavior among adjudicated adolescents. Journal of Adolescent Research, 19(4), 428–445. https://doi.org/10.1177/0743558403258860.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Rollero, C., & De Piccoli, N. (2010). Place attachment, identification and environment perception: An empirical study. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 30(2), 198–205. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jenvp.2009.12.003.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Routledge, C., Arndt, J., Wildschut, T., Sedikides, C., Hart, C. M., Juhl, J., et al. (2011). The past makes the present meaningful: Nostalgia as an existential resource. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 101(3), 638–652. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0024292.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Ryan, R. M., & Deci, E. L. (2000). Self-determination theory and the facilitation of intrinsic motivation, social development, and well-being. American Psychologist, 55(1), 68–78. https://doi.org/10.1037/0003-066X.55.1.68.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Sartre, J.-P. (1956). Being and nothingness. Oxford: Philosophical Library.

    Google Scholar 

  • Scannell, L., & Gifford, R. (2010). Defining place attachment: A tripartite organizing framework. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 30(1), 1–10. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jenvp.2009.09.006.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Schatz, R. T., Staub, E., & Lavine, H. (2003). On the varieties of national attachment: Blind versus constructive patriotism. Political Psychology, 20(1), 151–174. https://doi.org/10.1111/0162-895X.00140.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Seamon, D. (1979). A geography of the lifeworld. London: Croom Helm.

    Google Scholar 

  • Sedikides, C., Wildschut, T., Juhl, J., & Cheung, W. Y. (2017). The psychological functions of nostalgia. In F. Grouzet (Ed.), Oxford handbook of psychology of time travel and temporality. Oxford University Press.

  • Sheldon, K. M., Ryan, R. M., Rawsthorne, L. J., & Ilardi, B. (1997). Trait self and true self: Cross-role variation in the Big-Five personality traits and its relations with psychological authenticity and subjective well-being. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 73(6), 1380–1393. https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-3514.73.6.1380.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Shweder, R. A. (1991). Thinking through cultures: Expeditions in cultural psychology. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Singer, J. A. (2004). Narrative identity and meaning making across the adult lifespan: An introduction. Journal of Personality, 72(3), 437–460. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.0022-3506.2004.00268.x.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Steger, M. F., Frazier, P., Oishi, S., & Kaler, M. (2006). The meaning in life questionnaire: Assessing the presence of and search for meaning in life. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 53(1), 80–93. https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-0167.53.1.80.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Sugarman, J., & Thrift, E. (2017). Neoliberalism and the psychology of time. Journal of Humanistic Psychology. https://doi.org/10.1177/0022167817716686.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Sullivan, D., Keefer, L. A., Stewart Sheridan, A., & Palitsky, R. (2016). Time-space distanciation: An interdisciplinary account of how culture shapes the implicit and explicit psychology of time and space. Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour, 46(4), 450–474. https://doi.org/10.1111/jtsb.12103.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Tingley, D., Yamamoto, T., Hirose, K., Keele, L., & Imai, K. (2014). Mediation: R package for causal mediation analysis. Journal of Statistical Software, 59(5), 1–38.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Twenge, J. M., Catanese, K. R., & Baumeister, R. F. (2003). Social exclusion and the deconstructed state: Time perception, meaninglessness, lethargy, lack of emotion, and self-awareness. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 85(3), 409–423. https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-3514.85.3.409.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Waterman, A. S. (1993). Two conceptions of happiness: Contrasts of personal expressiveness (eudaimonia) and hedonic enjoyment. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 64(4), 678–691. https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-3514.64.4.678.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Wildschut, T., Bruder, M., Robertson, S., van Tilburg, W. A. P., & Sedikides, C. (2014). Collective nostalgia: A group-level emotion that confers unique benefits on the group. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 107(5), 844–863. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0037760.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Williams, D. R. (2014). “Beyond the commodity metaphor”: Some methodological reflections on place attachment research. In L. C. Manzo & P. Devine-Wright (Eds.), Place attachment: Advances in theory, methods, and applications (pp. 91–99). New York: Routledge.

    Google Scholar 

  • Wood, A. M., Linley, P. A., Maltby, J., Baliousis, M., & Joseph, S. (2008). The authentic personality: A theoretical and empirical conceptualization and the development of the Authenticity Scale. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 55(3), 385–399. https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-0167.55.3.385.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Young, A. F., Russell, A., & Powers, J. R. (2004). The sense of belonging to a neighbourhood: Can it be measured and is it related to health and well being in older women? Social Science and Medicine, 59(12), 2627–2637. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.socscimed.2004.05.001.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • 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.

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgements

The funding was provided by Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (Grant No. MU 1500/10-1).

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Matthew Baldwin.

Additional information

Publisher's Note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Baldwin, M., Keefer, L.A. Being Here and Now: The Benefits of Belonging in Space and Time. J Happiness Stud 21, 3069–3093 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10902-019-00214-7

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10902-019-00214-7

Keywords

  • Time
  • Temporal self
  • Well-being
  • Belonging
  • Scale development
  • Quantitative methods