Lost Love Often the Biggest Source of Regret, Study
TUESDAY, Feb. 14 (HealthDay News) --Valentine's Day is the
holiday that celebrates love, so be sure to show it because a new
study suggests love that's lost causes the greatest regret of
Researchers report that people have stronger feelings of regret
about decisions involving romance and family than those involving
The findings underscore the importance of social relationships,
according to Neal Roese, a marketing professor at the Kellogg
School of Management at Northwestern University, and his
"Social relationships, we suggest, are the most pivotal component of life regrets. Failed marriages, turbulent romances and lost time with family may elicit regrets that last a lifetime," the researchers wrote in the study that appeared online Feb. 1 in Social Psychological and Personality Science.
Regrets about social relationships are intense because they
threaten a person's need to belong, noted a university news
release. "Belonging, as a core human motive, powerfully connects to
well-being and mental health," the researchers wrote.
They conducted a series of five experiments, with participants
ranging from 108 to 549 men and women. Some focused on college
students and others on a representative sample of adult Americans.
Studies involved rating intensity of life regrets and connecting
that with the social impact of decisions.
Results suggested that love or other social decisions, such as
ending a relationship or being unfaithful, are more intense than
those involving work or nonsocial decisions such as quitting a job
or dropping out of college.
"What our research makes clear is that, while regrets are multifaceted with diverse consequences, their social impact looms especially large," the researchers concluded. "Regrets can stem from love or work, but those stemming from the former seem to be the toughest to overcome. The need to belong is not just a fundamental human motive but a fundamental component of regret."
Harvard Medical School explains
the value of regret.
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