Long-term Psychological Study Confirms: Time is The Best Medicine Against Homesickness

Researcher from Karl Landsteiner University of Health Sciences investigated feelings of homesickness among exchange students abroad

ID: 1536280
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(businesspress24) - Krems, 23 May 2018 sickness 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 peopleg-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: so 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

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

Publication: The Emergence and Volatility of Homesickness in Exchange Students Abroad: A Smartphone- Based Longitudinal Study. F. M. G& U.-D. Reips. Environment and Behavior, 2018, in press. https://doi.org/10.1177/0013916518754610

About Karl Landsteiner University of Health Sciences
Karl Landsteiner University of Health Sciences (KL) is a pioneer for innovation in medical and health sciences education and research, and a catalyst for groundbreaking work which will benefit society at large. Research at KL focuses on niche fields in bridge disciplines such as biomedical engineering, psychology and psychodynamics, as well as topics including water quality and related health issues. Study programmes include health sciences, human medicine, and psychotherapy and counselling and have full European recognition. A network of university hospitals in St Poelten, Krems, and Tulln provides students with quality-assured, research-led education; it enables them to do top-class clinical research that is recognised worldwide. Karl Landsteiner University received accreditation by the Agency for Quality Assurance and Accreditation Austria (AQ Austria) in 2013.


Scientific Contact
MPhil. Friedrich G
Department of Psychology
University of Cambridge
Downing Street
Cambridge CB2 3EB
E fmg33(at)cam.ac.uk
W https://www.psychol.cam.ac.uk/

Karl Landsteiner University of Health Science
Barbara M. Peutz
Communications, PR & Marketing
Dr.-Karl-Dorrek-Stra
3500 Krems / Austria
T +43 2732 72090 230
M +43 664 889 558 49
E barbara.peutz(at)kl.ac.at
W http://www.kl.ac.at/

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Date: 05/23/2018 - 03:15
Language: English
News-ID 1536280
Character count: 6494
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Meldungsart: Erfolgsprojekt
Versandart: Veröffentlichung
Freigabedatum: 23.05.2018
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