Self-Regulatory Interplay Between Negative and Positive Emotions: The Case of Loneliness and Nostalgia

  • Tim Wildschut
  • Constantine Sedikides
  • Filippo Cordaro


Much of the impetus for the burgeoning interest in positive emotions was provided by the influential idea that these emotions play a vital role in the regulation of psychological distress and the maintenance of psychological and physiological homeostasis. Following in these footsteps, the authors review empirical research that highlights the role of nostalgia (a positive emotional state) in the regulation of loneliness (a negative psychological state). Specifically, they propose that the psychological significance of nostalgia resides in part in its capacity to regulate feelings of loneliness by increasing perceived social connectedness. The authors review findings showing that loneliness increases nostalgia and that, in turn, nostalgia increases perceived social connectedness. They then present evidence for the vital implication that, whereas the direct effect of loneliness is to reduce perceived social connectedness, its indirect effect is to increase perceived social connectedness via nostalgia. Finally, they examine how the relation between loneliness and nostalgia is shaped by individual differences that play a governing role in emotion regulation: resilience and the attachment-related dimensions of avoidance and anxiety.


Social Support Positive Emotion Social Connectedness Negative Affective State Relational Connectedness 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer New York 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tim Wildschut
    • 1
  • Constantine Sedikides
  • Filippo Cordaro
  1. 1.School of PsychologyUniversity of SouthamptonSouthamptonUK

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