The moderating effects of nostalgia on mood and optimism during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The initial waves of the coronavirus pandemic amplified feelings of depression, psychological fatigue and pessimism for the future. Past research suggests that nostalgia helps to repair negative moods by boosting current and future-oriented positive affect, thereby strengthening psychological resilience. Accordingly, the present study investigated whether nostalgia moderated the relationship between pandemic experience and individual differences in mood and optimism. Across two studies we assessed psychosocial self-report data from a total of 293 online participants (22-72 years old; mean age 38; 109 females, 184 males) during the first two waves of the pandemic. Participants completed comprehensive questionnaires that probed state and trait characteristics related to mood and memory, such as the Profile of Mood States, Nostalgia Inventory and State Optimism Measure. Our findings indicate that during the initial wave of coronavirus cases, higher levels of nostalgia buffered against deteriorating mood states associated with concern over the pandemic. Nostalgia also boosted optimism for participants experiencing negative mood, and optimism predicted subjective mood improvement one week later. This shielding effect of nostalgia on optimism was replicated during the second wave of coronavirus cases. The present findings support the role of nostalgia in promoting emotional homeostasis and resilience during periods of psychological distress.
Start / End Page
Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)
International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)