Homesickness has affected humanity since ancient times. In the Bible and in Homer’s Odyssey, one can come across accounts of individuals stricken by this condition. In former times, soldiers who developed homesickness were sent back home by army doctors, lest they die. Homesickness was considered a serious, potentially lethal, ‘neurological’ disease. This seems in stark contrast to current thinking, in particular in the USA, about this condition. There it is rather conceived of as a weakness, if not a nearly exclusively childish state.
Prof. dr. Ad Vingerhoets describes the history of the homesickness concept and summarizes current theories and presents recent research findings. Which are the latest scientific insights concerning homesickness? Finally, he makes a comparison with a related, but surprisingly very different construct: nostalgia.
Prof. dr. Ad Vingerhoets
Prof. dr. Ad Vingerhoets (1953) is affiliated with the Department of Medical and Clinical Psychology of Tilburg University, Tilburg, The Netherlands. His expertise is in particular in the areas of stress, emotions, psychosomatics, and quality of life. Prof. Vingerhoets has edited/authored 19 books and has written over 400 articles in academic journals. His work on homesickness and nostalgia, leisure sickness, but in particular crying attracts much (inter)national media attention.