## Nostalgia Valence and Well-Being Newman, D. B., & Sachs, M. E. (in press). Variation in bittersweet nostalgic feelings and their divergent effects on daily well-being. *Emotion*. Abstract: Experimental manipulations of nostalgia that privilege positive aspects of the bittersweet emotion have led to the conclusion that nostalgia is a predominantly positive emotion, yet nostalgia covaries negatively with well-being in daily life. To reconcile this discrepancy, we developed and tested the Bittersweet Variation Model of Nostalgia that posits that 1) nostalgic feelings vary not only in intensity but also in valence (i.e., how bitter or sweet a nostalgic feeling is), 2) daily events influence the valence of nostalgic feelings, and 3) nostalgia’s valence influences well-being. Across two daily diary studies (N = 151; 1,356 daily reports), we found that the valence of nostalgic feelings varied considerably within-persons. Daily positive events predicted more positively rated nostalgic feelings, whereas daily negative events predicted more negatively rated nostalgic feelings. Controlling for the effects of daily events on well-being, positive nostalgic feelings predicted greater well-being, whereas negative nostalgic feelings predicted lower well-being. To provide more robust causal evidence of the effect of nostalgia valence on well-being, we conducted two experiments (N = 445) in which we manipulated nostalgia valence by asking participants to write about positive nostalgic feelings (involving people they remain close to) or negative nostalgia feelings (involving people they no longer remain close to), mimicking typical nostalgic feelings in daily life. Positive nostalgic feelings improved well-being compared to negative nostalgic feelings. Thus, nostalgia is not inherently positive or negative. Rather, the effect of nostalgia on well-being depends on its valence, which is influenced by the eliciting event.
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