Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Jeffrey D. Green, Ph.D.


Romantic nostalgia, or the sentimental longing and wistful affection towards a romantic partner (Evans et al., in press), is a type of nostalgia pertaining to relationships that has not been addressed widely in the current literature. The goal of this research is to investigate whether romantic nostalgia buffers against conflict and promotes motivational benefits to the relationship. I extend the work on the restorative nature of nostalgia to close relationships and explore cognitive, motivational, and behavioral relationship maintenance strategies. Study 1 sampled university students currently in romantic relationships to examine the association between romantic nostalgia proneness and compassionate goals. Romantic nostalgia proneness was significantly correlated and predicted compassionate goals, moderated by avoidant attachment, and mediated by relationship functions. In Study 2, I experimentally manipulated both conflict and romantic nostalgia to examine whether there was an interaction effect on compassionate goals. Both manipulations were successful; however, there was no support for main or interaction effects between romantic nostalgia and conflict on compassionate goals. In Study 3, I induced conflict for all participants first, followed by the same romantic nostalgia manipulation from Study 2, and assessed mediating and downstream relationship maintenance effects (support giving, derogation of alternatives, sacrifice). There were no significant group differences on any variables of interest, except for the derogation of alternatives: nostalgic individuals devalued attractive alternative partners following a conflict, relative to non-nostalgic individuals. Overall, the three studies offered insight into the effect of romantic nostalgia on relationship maintenance strategies, with relevant applications for relationship science.


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