From Tribulations to Appreciation: Experiencing Adversity in the Past Predicts Greater Savoring in the Present

Alyssa Croft, Elizabeth W. Dunn, Jordi Quoidbach

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

12 Scopus citations

Abstract

Can experiencing adversity enhance people's appreciation for life's small pleasures? To examine this question, we asked nearly 15,000 adults to complete a vignette-based measure of savoring. In addition, we presented participants with a checklist of adverse events (e.g., divorce, death of a loved one) and asked them to indicate whether they had experienced any of these events and, if so, to specify whether they felt they had emotionally dealt with the negative event or were still struggling with it. Although people who were currently struggling with adversity reported a diminished proclivity for savoring positive events, individuals who had dealt with more adversity in the past reported an elevated capacity for savoring. Thus, the worst experiences in life may come with an eventual upside, by promoting the ability to appreciate life's small pleasures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)511-516
Number of pages6
JournalSocial Psychological and Personality Science
Volume5
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2014
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • adversity
  • emotion regulation
  • savoring

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology

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