Objective: Across three studies, self-discontinuity (i.e., a sense that the present self is different from the past self) was examined as a motivating factor for readiness to change. Moreover, nostalgia was assessed as the mediating variable in this relationship.
Method: Self-discontinuity was both measured (Study 1) and manipulated (Studies 2 and 3) among a sample of disordered gamblers (Studies 1 and 2) and problem drinkers (Study 3). In all three studies, nostalgia and readiness to change was assessed.
Results: As predicted, high levels of self-discontinuity resulted in greater
readiness to change to the extent that disordered gamblers felt nostalgic for the pre-addicted self (Studies 1 and 2). Study 3 extended the generalizability of the results by replicating these findings with a sample of problem drinkers.
Conclusion: Highlighting the difference between people’s past non addicted and present addicted selves may be an important catalyst in moving people from addiction to action.