When do keepsakes keep us together? The effect of separation from a partner on directing attachment to inanimate objects

Aleksandra Niemyjska


Prior research has often limited the coping potential of inanimate objects to being cues for nostalgia. This article proposes that, due to an unavoidable separation from a loved one, individuals might adhere to an intuitive view that their loved one remains present in inanimate objects associated with him or her. Directing attachment behavior to inanimate objects associated with a loved one can be an effective strategy for maintaining subjective closeness to the partner. In Study 1, participants who imagined being trapped on a deserted island (vs. being together) were more likely to express both attachment to a photograph of their partner and nostalgia. Nostalgia, however, led to the anticipation that having the photograph would exacerbate the situation. Studies 2 and 3 demonstrated that adults experiencing real‐life separation were more likely than controls to direct their attachment to inanimate objects that decreased loneliness and increased closeness to one's partner. The distinctive role of attachment to inanimate objects as a coping strategy is further discussed.
Author Aleksandra Niemyjska (Wydzial Psychologii w Sopocie)
Aleksandra Niemyjska,,
- Wydzial Psychologii w Sopocie
Journal seriesPersonal Relationships, ISSN 1350-4126, e-ISSN 1475-6811, (N/A 70 pkt)
Issue year2019
Publication size in sheets1.15
Keywords in Englishkeepsakes, loneliness, nostalgia, partner's loss, photographs, romantic relationship, separation, sympathetic magic
ASJC Classification3204 Developmental and Educational Psychology; 3207 Social Psychology; 3314 Anthropology; 3319 Life-span and Life-course Studies
Languageen angielski
PERE Niemyjska 2019.pdf 2.74 MB
Niemyjska Oświadczenie When do keepsakes04022020.pdf 744.16 KB
Score (nominal)70
Score sourcejournalList
Publication indicators Scopus SNIP (Source Normalised Impact per Paper): 2018 = 0.656; WoS Impact Factor: 2017 = 0.906 (2) - 2017=1.695 (5)
Citation count*2 (2021-03-02)
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* presented citation count is obtained through Internet information analysis and it is close to the number calculated by the Publish or Perish system.
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