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Title: Temporal distancing during the COVID‐19 pandemic: Letter writing with future self can mitigate negative affect
Authors: Chishima, Yuta
Huai‐Ching Liu, I‐Ting
E. Wilson, Anne
Author's alias: 千島, 雄太
Keywords: COVID‐19
emotion regulation
future self
temporal distance
Issue Date: May-2021
Publisher: Wiley
Journal title: Applied Psychology: Health and Well-Being
Volume: 13
Issue: 2
Start page: 406
End page: 418
Abstract: Novel coronavirus disease (COVID‐19) is spreading across the world, threatening not only physical health but also psychological well‐being. We reasoned that a broadened temporal perspective may attenuate current mental distress and tested a letter‐writing manipulation designed to connect people to their post‐COVID‐19 future selves. We conducted an online experiment with 738 Japanese participants recruited from two common survey platforms. They were randomly assigned to either send a letter to their future self (letter‐to‐future) condition, send a letter to present self from the perspective of future self (letter‐from‐future) condition, or a control condition. Participants in both letter‐writing conditions showed immediate decrease in negative affect and increase in positive affect relative to the control condition. These effects were mediated by temporal distancing from the current situation. These findings suggest that taking a broader temporal perspective can be achieved by letter writing with a future self and may offer an effective means of regulating negative affect in a stressful present time such as the COVID‐19 pandemic.
Description: 未来への手紙がネガティブ感情を軽減させることの効果を検証 --パンデミック下における実験データから--. 京都大学プレスリリース. 2021-03-02.
[ETHICAL STATEMENTS] All study participants provided informed consent, and the study design was approved by the ethics review board in Kyoto University (Ref. 30-P-24).
Rights: © 2021 The Authors. Applied Psychology: Health and Well‐Being published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of International Association of Applied Psychology.
This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution‐NonCommercial‐NoDerivs License, which permits use and distribution in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non‐commercial and no modifications or adaptations are made.
DOI(Published Version): 10.1111/aphw.12256
PubMed ID: 33595208
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