When socializing with others) (Stroebe et al., 2016).

When hearing the word homesickness
(HS), many people instantly think of little children missing home when at
summer camp or at a friend’s house. However, HS is not a phenomenon that only
affects children but people of all ages. According to Fisher (1989), approximately 50-75% of people
have felt homesick at least once before.  Due to the continuing globalization, the
number of people who have to leave their home town or country to attend
university or to start a new job is constantly increasing. With this separation
the topic of HS becomes increasingly important since recent research shows that
it can be connected to serious health problems. The present study aims to
investigate two potentially malleable mechanisms underlying HS, namely
rumination and co-rumination, in order to possibly help improve treatment
approaches for HSFB1 .

Homesickness

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Thurber and Walton (2012) defined HS as “the distress or
impairment caused by an actual or anticipated separation from home” (p.415). Stroebe,
Shut and Nauta (2016) even take it a step further by
defining HS as mini-grief, which they describe as “a negative emotional state
primarily due to separation from home and attachment persons, characterized by
longing for and preoccupation with home, and often with difficulties adjusting
to the new place” (p.350). This definition is derived from the Dual Process
Model of Coping with Homesickness (DPM-HS) which divides HS into two parts,
namely home-related factors and away-related stressors. The former refers to
problems with the separation itself and the latter to problems related to the
new surroundings and situation. It is important to separate these two
experiences since one can occur without the other (Stroebe et al., 2016). Having trouble leaving home does
not necessarily lead to problems in adjusting to the new environment and such
problems, in turn, do not have to be related to bad feelings about the
separation itself. Nevertheless, having to deal with problems concerning the new
locality can trigger the experience of home-related stressors. This, in turn,
can lead to a downwards spiral since being preoccupied with thoughts about home
can interfere with resolving away-related stressors or even evoke them (e.g. through not
attending lecturesAR2  FB3 or not socializing with others) (Stroebe et al., 2016). This can thus intensify the
experience of home-related stressors (e.g. thinking more about how stressful
the separation from home is) (Stroebe et al., 2016). In most university students, HS
will decline within the first few weeks with its peak shortly after relocation
after which it slowly starts diminishing (Stroebe, Schut, & Nauta, 2015).

Research on HS is clinically
relevant since it is associated with depression, loneliness, anxiety, and
social isolation (Thurber & Walton, 2012a). Furthermore, being occupied with
thoughts about home and the people there can interfere with the adjustment to a
new home and also with academic performance in students (Fisher, Murray, & Frazer, 1985). Burt (1993) reported that individuals who
experience HS are three times more likely to drop out of university than those
reporting not feeling homesick. Surprisingly, it can also hinder reintegration
in the home country due to overidealization, meaning that individuals create an
ideal image of the home they left behind and are then disappointed that the
reality does not measure up to it (Stroebe et al., 2015). Among others, Thurber and Walton (2012) proposed that young age, low
perceived control, and high reliance on family members are risk factors for the
development of HS. Furthermore, they named having more experience away from
home, older age, and making host-country friends as some of the protective
factors (Thurber & Walton, 2012). Finding out more about the
mechanisms underlying HS and malleable protective
and risk factors can be important in further improving interventions for it. Nevertheless,
it needs to be noted that only few individuals may need interventions, since
only a minority experiences HS to an extent in which it leads to physical or
mental health issues.

Rumination and
homesickness

One potential malleable risk-factor
of HS is rumination (Bell & Bromnick, 1998) which is defined as repetitive and
passive focusing on negative experiences and thoughts and their causes and
consequences (Nolen-Hoeksema, Wisco, &
Lyubomirsky, 2008). It is important to find out more
about the role rumination plays in HS since it is proposed as a risk factor for
different disorders like depression and anxiety disorders (Mor & Winquist, 2002). Research shows that rumination may
be reduced by mindfulness-based and cognitive behavioral interventions (Querstret & Cropley, 2013) thus, if rumination indeed plays a
role in the experience of HS, this could potentially imply that interventions
could be useful in the treatment of severe HS. The first aim of the current
study is therefore to replicate the findings that rumination is positively
associated with the experience of HS (Fisher, 1989; Stroebe et al., 2015).

Theoretically, the role of
rumination in homesickness can be understood on the basis of Nolen-Hoeksema’s (1991) Response Style Theory (RST) which
states that rumination prolongs distress by increasing accessibility of
negative thoughts, impairing problem solving and instrumental behavior and
driving away social support. The increase in negative thought and the inability
in engaging in constructive problem solving can intensify the experience of HS.

 Additionally, rumination is
thought to inhibit instrumental behavior, meaning that ruminators focus on
their depressive symptoms and through this start thinking they are not able to
engage in certain behaviors (Nolen-Hoeksema et al., 2008). A study even showed that although
ruminators know that engaging in a distractive activity would lead to a better
mood they might not want to try it (Lyubomirsky & Nolen-Hoeksema,
1993). Thinking one is not able to cope
with the distress arising from relocating, like not having close friends nearby
or having to get used to the new surroundings, can interfere with actions that
would mitigate those feelings, like going out or joining a sports club in order
to meet new people. This in turn may lead to stronger feelings of HS. Another
consequence of excessive rumination is that it can burden the relationship with
other people. They become frustrated with the constant complaining and worrying
of the ruminator (Nolen-Hoeksema & Larson, 1999), thus become unwilling to further
provide social support. Taking a closer look at the consequences of rumination
shows that all these behaviors can lead to poorer adaptation to relocation
which in turn can lead to HS. Therefore, it can be hypothesized that rumination
may play an important role in HS.

Co-rumination and
homesickness

Another type of ruminative coping is
co-rumination. Rose (2002) referred to co-rumination as
“excessively discussing personal problems within a dyadic relationship
characterized by frequently discussing problems, discussing the same problem
repeatedly, mutual encouragement of discussing problems, speculating about
problems, and focusing on negative feelings” (p. 1830). Thus, it is similar to
rumination in the aspect that one is preoccupied with negative thoughts but
distinct in a way that it involves other people (Rose, 2002). Another similarity with rumination
is that co-rumination is also linked with depressive symptoms through keeping
the focus on negative events and feelings which can also increase anxiety that
the problems will never be resolved (Bastin, Bijttebier, Raes, & Vasey, 2014; Rose, 2002).AR4  Talking about the same problems over and over
again can potentially worsen the negative feelings about it and in turn hinder
adaptation to relocation. Co-rumination may also be prevalent among
international students since they tend to gather with other students from their
home country and may talk about missing home more frequently. Therefore, the
present study aims to show that co-rumination – like rumination – is positively
associated with the experience of HS.

With the first aim of the study in
mind, we hypothesize that rumination has a positive relationship with HS. The
second hypothesis proposes that co-rumination has a positive relationship with
HS. Furthermore
we expect to find a stronger positive relationship between co-rumination and HS
than rumination and HS since co-rumination can, besides being maladaptive, also
be a burden to the relationship with others which in turn can lead to new
problemsFB5 .

 FB1I have advised a couple of your colleagues not to use such an
introductory paragraph because if was distracting, but I actually think it
works quite well here. I also much appreciate the conciseness of your writing.

 AR2Hast du vielleicht ne Idee wo ich das am besten einbauen könnte? (siehe Kommentar FB6)

 FB3Keep in mind that you haven’t mentioned yet that you are
investigating HS in students specifically. Yet, many things you write in this
part of your text is about HS in college students. Perhaps mention earlier?

 AR4Quelle checken!

 FB5Maybe base this prediction on the presumed prevalence of
co-rumination among students. Is there btw any comparative study on rum and
corum?

x

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