The Dark Side of Hope: It’S Harder to Adapt When the Adversity Is Temporary

We explored whether knowing that a disability is temporary, rather than permanent, would affect adaptation. We performed a longitudinal study of new colostomy patients, approximately half of whom eventually have their colostomies reversed, and normal bowel function restored. We predicted that patients who had reversible colostomies would not show evidence of adaptation, in contrast to the permanent colostomy patients. Our results confirmed this pattern; well-being increased with time for permanent patients, but not for temporary patients. These results are consistent with our hypothesis that knowing that a “cure” for a disability is on the horizon would interfere with adaptation.


George Loewenstein, Dylan Smith, Aleksandra Jankovich, and Peter Ubel (2008) ,"The Dark Side of Hope: It’S Harder to Adapt When the Adversity Is Temporary", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 35, eds. Angela Y. Lee and Dilip Soman, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 72-75.


George Loewenstein, Carnegie Mellon University
Dylan Smith, University of Michigan
Aleksandra Jankovich, University of Michigan
Peter Ubel, University of Michigan


NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 35 | 2008

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