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Title: The functions of nostalgia for well-being in older adults
Author: Fawn, Michelle
ISNI:       0000 0004 7431 5478
Awarding Body: University of Surrey
Current Institution: University of Surrey
Date of Award: 2018
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Objective: To explore whether nostalgia, a bittersweet emotion characterised by sentimental longing for the past, can improve well-being in older adults and buffer against threats to well-being in this population. Design: A between-subjects experimental design was conducted with random group assignment for participants to recall either a nostalgic memory or an ordinary memory (control group). Ryff & Keyes (1995) Psychological Well-being factors and Life Satisfaction were measured post-intervention and potential threats to wellbeing: loneliness, time-limitedness, and activity levels were measured pre-intervention. Participants: 161 older adults (age 65 years and above) completed the questionnaire on paper or via an internet survey and 132 were able to be used in data analysis. They were recruited through opportunity sample from local community groups and residential homes in England with the majority being White British, retired and living independently alone or with a partner. Results: Method of survey completion (paper vs. online) was found to represent different sub-populations of the sample and to have a significant impact upon findings. Well-being (both life satisfaction and scales of psychological well-being (total, environmental mastery and self-acceptance)) was significantly higher for older adults in the nostalgia condition comparative to control (for those who completed the questionnaire online). Nostalgia was found to buffer against loneliness to protect well-being (for those who completed the questionnaire on paper). Conclusions: This research partly supports the beneficial effects of nostalgia specifically in older adult populations. Future research can build upon the findings of this study, in particular, recruiting older adults experiencing high levels of threats to well-being such as loneliness. Should a body of literature begin to form around the benefits of nostalgia in older adults, this population could be supported to not just be living longer, but also to be living a better quality of life.
Supervisor: Hepper, Erica ; Patton, Bob Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Psych.) Qualification Level: Doctoral