December 17, 2008
Therapeutic aspects of nostalgia examined
In the 17th and 18th centuries nostalgia was a medical disease, but psychologists are now focused on nostalgia's therapeutic aspects, British researchers say.
Nostalgia was once viewed as a medical disease, complete with symptoms including weeping, irregular heartbeat and anorexia. By the 20th century, nostalgia was regarded as a psychiatric disorder, with symptoms such as insomnia, anxiety and depression and was confined to a few groups, e.g. first year boarding students and immigrants, said University of Southampton psychologist Constantine Sedikides.
The authors note that
nostalgia is now emerging as a fundamental human strength. They conclude that
nostalgia is uniquely positioned to offer integrative insights across such areas of psychology as memory, emotion, the self and relationships. Nostalgia has a long past and an exciting future.
The findings are published in the journal Psychological Science.