Breaking News
September 26, 2018 - Blood-brain barrier can be important biomarker for early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease
September 26, 2018 - Scientists discover and characterize human skeletal stem cells
September 26, 2018 - Repeat CT Common in Peds Traumatic Epidural Hematoma
September 26, 2018 - Genetics Home Reference: bunion
September 26, 2018 - Increase observed in hearts from drug-intoxicated donors
September 26, 2018 - For Heart Failure Patients, Mitral Valve Procedure Improved Outcomes
September 26, 2018 - TINY cancer detection device shows promise as point-of-care detector of KSHV
September 26, 2018 - Women with non-small cell lung cancers live longer than their male counterparts
September 26, 2018 - KTU researchers engineer experimental bone to help treat osteoarthritis patients
September 26, 2018 - Foundation for a Smoke-Free World calls for proposals to implement Smoke-Free Index
September 26, 2018 - Functional Imagery Training helps lose five times more weight than talking therapy
September 26, 2018 - Fewer American Teens Having Sex, Most Using Birth Control
September 26, 2018 - We are predisposed to forgive, new research suggests
September 26, 2018 - Insomnia Exacts Heavy Toll on Quality of Life
September 26, 2018 - Clinical study shows efficacy, safety of novel drug-eluting stent with improved radiographic visibility
September 26, 2018 - Cytox, AIBL announce expanded agreement to assess genetic risk for Alzheimer’s
September 26, 2018 - Study finds persistent rate of lawnmower injury-related emergency department visits
September 26, 2018 - Researchers find molecule that halts, reverts neurodegeneration caused by Parkinson’s disease
September 26, 2018 - Novartis announces winners of 2018 eXcellence in Ophthalmology Vision Award
September 26, 2018 - New spinout company to tackle drug-resistant infections with novel antibiotics
September 26, 2018 - In depression the brain region for stress control is larger
September 26, 2018 - Smuggling RNA into cells can activate the immune system to fight cancer
September 26, 2018 - Special Focus Issue takes wide view of complementary and integrative medicine in cancer
September 26, 2018 - Researchers now confirm that genome duplication drives evolution of species
September 25, 2018 - Study provides evidence of beta lactamase producing, antimicrobial resistant E. coli in U.S. retail meat
September 25, 2018 - UCI study finds new cause of cerebral microbleeds
September 25, 2018 - Researchers propose mechanism by which ASTN2 protein defects lead to brain disorders
September 25, 2018 - Chinese and German researchers to cooperate more closely in future for better food
September 25, 2018 - Recent study helps predict probability of pregnant mothers to have child with autism
September 25, 2018 - New online, sound matching tool offers tinnitus sufferers potential treatment options
September 25, 2018 - UC Davis researchers take critical step in developing more effective Salmonella vaccine
September 25, 2018 - Antibiotics best paediatric treatment for children’s chronic wet cough
September 25, 2018 - Looking beyond opioids: Stanford pain psychologist briefs Congress
September 25, 2018 - Organs actively fighting back against autoimmune diseases, finds study
September 25, 2018 - Lancaster professor aims to understand how genes affect smoking cessation
September 25, 2018 - Human-oriented perspective needed to better understand Parkinson’s disease
September 25, 2018 - Physical activity may have beneficial effects for people with rare Alzheimer’s disease
September 25, 2018 - FDA Updates on Valsartan Recalls
September 25, 2018 - 3-D-printed tracheal splints used in groundbreaking pediatric surgery
September 25, 2018 - Who is the designated driver, or proxy, for your health decisions?
September 25, 2018 - New chemo-optogenetic method enables multi-directional activity control of cellular processes
September 25, 2018 - Study explores link between genetic predisposition to Alzheimer’s and cardiometabolic risk factors
September 25, 2018 - NeoTract presents new clinical data from studies of UroLift System for patients with BPH
September 25, 2018 - Patients with paralysis manage to walk thanks to new technology
September 25, 2018 - Statins Improve Long-Term Survival After AAA Repair
September 25, 2018 - Novel brain network linked to chronic pain in Parkinson’s disease
September 25, 2018 - Researchers reassess negative pressure wound therapy as its benefit and harm remain unclear
September 25, 2018 - Older adults with ‘fall plan of care’ less likely to suffer fall-related hospitalizations
September 25, 2018 - FDA lifts partial clinical hold that paused enrollment of new patients in tazemetosta clinical trials
September 25, 2018 - IME Medical Electrospinning establishes state-of-the-art manufacturing lab facilities
September 25, 2018 - Phase 1 and 2 clinical trials of entrectinib drug in ROS1-positive NSCLC show promising results
September 25, 2018 - How to Protect Your Eyesight
September 25, 2018 - Novel approach allows researchers to define how cells in the retina respond to diabetes
September 25, 2018 - Columbia University announces winners of 2018 Louisa Gross Horwitz Prize
September 25, 2018 - New model enables anyone to run powerful simulations, complex calculations easily
September 25, 2018 - Clinical trial investigators found non-compliant with requirement to report results on EU register
September 25, 2018 - Study analyzes quality of protein supplements in function of source, treatment and storage
September 25, 2018 - FDA grants Orphan Drug Designation to Myelo001 for treatment of Acute Radiation Syndrome
September 25, 2018 - U.S. Alzheimer’s Cases to Nearly Triple by 2060
September 25, 2018 - Improving cell replacement therapy for Parkinson’s disease
September 25, 2018 - Genervon reports new findings that drug candidate GM6 attenuates Alzheimer’s disease in mice model
September 25, 2018 - FDA approves new 5 mm diameter drug-eluting stent from Cook Medical
September 25, 2018 - New $17.8 million grant ensures USC at forefront of research on tobacco-related health risks
September 25, 2018 - Researchers analyze response to combination immunotherapy for patients with rare skin cancer
September 25, 2018 - Study sheds light on how brain protein may be involved neurodevelopmental disorders
September 25, 2018 - Where to draw the line on incentives
September 25, 2018 - Solid fuel use linked with increased risk of hospitalization or death from respiratory diseases
September 25, 2018 - ‘Trouble Brewing’ report highlights steps that governments can take to reduce alcohol-related harms
September 25, 2018 - Recurrence risk of VTE appears similar for patients with cancer and those with unprovoked VTE
September 25, 2018 - Global leaders must make bold commitments at first-ever UN tuberculosis summit
September 25, 2018 - Brief sleep intervention works long-term to prevent child obesity
September 25, 2018 - Vaping among kids and teens a growing concern
September 25, 2018 - Public launch of products and application solutions from Porvair Laboratory Division
September 25, 2018 - Harmful H. pylori may play a role in Parkinson’s disease
September 25, 2018 - Researchers develop way to measure different types of fear of falling in patients with Parkinson’s
September 25, 2018 - Fracture causes bone density losses throughout the body
September 25, 2018 - Researchers highlight potential therapy for treating rare, deadly blood-clotting disorder
September 25, 2018 - Hybrid theranostic complex shows high therapeutic efficacy against tumor cells
September 25, 2018 - FDA Issues Statement Reaffirming the Positive Benefit-Risk Profile of Nuplazid (pimavanserin) for Patients with Hallucinations and Delusions Associated with Parkinson’s Disease Psychosis
September 25, 2018 - Toxicological evaluation and dosimetry estimation of potential PET radiotracer
Long-term psychological study confirms time is the best medicine against homesickness

Long-term psychological study confirms time is the best medicine against homesickness

image_pdfDownload PDFimage_print

Time heals homesickness – and quickly, according to a unique long-term study on international students. A propensity towards neuroticism and the desire to keep others happy are among the factors associated with the development of homesickness. However, the study also found that the level of homesickness among those currently studying abroad is generally low. The investigation was facilitated by a smartphone app that enabled students to participate in the study while they were still abroad.

Homesickness hurts. But on top of that, it can lead to health, cognitive and academic difficulties, reclusiveness and general mental health problems. In light of all these effects, it is remarkable that so little scientific research into the phenomenon has been carried out, especially in view of people’s increased mobility and widespread uprooting in the 21st century. Researchers from Karl Landsteiner University of Health Sciences in Krems (KL Krems), the University of Cambridge (UK) and the University of Konstanz (DE) decided to look more closely at this topic, carrying out a unique, global long-term study of homesickness. For the first time, they managed to record the feelings of those affected during their stay abroad, thanks to a specially designed smartphone app.

Study of homesickness at home

As Prof. Stefan Stieger of the Department of Psychology and Psychodynamics at KL Krems, one of the co-authors of the study, explained: “As it turned out, most of the previous studies were carried out when the subjects had already returned home. As a result, the participants’ statements were ‘filtered’ and influenced by their memories. Developing the app allowed us to eliminate this influence for the first time.” This method also enabled the researchers to scientifically analyse the development of homesickness over a period of three months.

The findings, which were recently published in the journal Environment and Behavior, show that homesickness was at its strongest at the beginning of a stay abroad, but quickly subsided thereafter. The team noted that a propensity towards neuroticism played a significant part in promoting the development of homesickness. People with a tendency towards emotional instability had stronger feelings of homesickness than others – but the same goes for people who seem particularly agreeable because they try to keep everybody around them happy. “That seemed counterintuitive at first,” Prof. Stieger pointed out. “But the relationship could perhaps be explained by the fact that people with such tendencies suffer as a result of being unable to sufficiently attend to the wishes and needs of friends and family at home.”

First aid for homesickness

The study also pinpointed factors that help to reduce feelings of homesickness. These mainly included support from the host university during the settling-in period, previous stays in a foreign country, a willingness to travel abroad voluntarily, and a sense of identification with the host country. Although these influences were weak owing to the generally low intensity of homesickness, the findings confirmed those of other studies, the results of which were based on retrospective surveys, as mentioned above. Confirmation by this study with its improved design is an important supplement to past research.

Subjects were surveyed by means of a specially developed smartphone app. Over a period of three months, the participants were requested to complete a homesickness questionnaire using the app. As a result, responses were collected during phases in which the subjects actually had feelings of homesickness, and not weeks later. Just under 150 subjects aged between 18 and 29 volunteered to take part in the study.

Now published in an international journal, the investigation was made possible in part by its groundbreaking, app-based data collection method, which Prof. Stieger plans to use more extensively in his research in future. The study underlines KL Krems’ innovative approaches to generating knowledge in key bridge disciplines such as biomedical engineering, psychology and psychodynamics. This also enhances the attractiveness of the university’s research for partners all over the world.


Explore further:
Homesickness and adjustment in university students

More information:
Friedrich M. Götz et al. The Emergence and Volatility of Homesickness in Exchange Students Abroad: A Smartphone-Based Longitudinal Study, Environment and Behavior (2018). DOI: 10.1177/0013916518754610

Provided by:
Austrian Science Fund (FWF)

Tagged with:

About author

Related Articles