Nostalgia, Social Media, and Subjective Wellbeing: The Dualistic and Conditional Effects of Nostalgia During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Hichang Cho*, Pengxiang Li, Anfan Chen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

Abstract

Drastic lifestyle changes due to the COVID-19 pandemic have caused many people to undergo nostalgic longing for the past. Drawing on the regulatory model of nostalgia, we built a research model to examine the dualistic effects of nostalgia on subjective wellbeing, using self-continuity as a mediator and social media use as a moderator. The findings from an online survey (N = 373) indicated that when nostalgia is associated with an enhanced sense of self-continuity, it has a positive indirect effect on subjective wellbeing. In contrast, when not mediated by such a restorative function, nostalgia has a direct negative impact on subjective wellbeing. Both of these (positive) indirect and (negative) direct effects were moderated by social media usage, suggesting that social media use is a crucial communication-related boundary condition that reinforces or mitigates the dualistic effects of nostalgia. This study offers contributions to the literature by uncovering distinct pathways through which nostalgia carries differing implications for subjective wellbeing in times of crisis, as well as by identifying social media use as a boundary condition under which such dualistic roles of nostalgia manifest.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages11
JournalHealth Communication
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2 Feb 2023

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Communication

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