Materialism is Positive or Negative

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What is “materialism”? How does it relate to you and your life? Do you believe materialism is positive or negative? Why?

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  1. locate and evaluate sources, through library research, and integrate research through appropriate citation and quotation;
  2. present effective arguments that use a full range of legitimate rhetorical and logical strategies to articulate and explain their positions on complex issues in dialogue with other points of view;
  3. locate, interpret, evaluate, and synthesize evidence in a comprehensive way in support of your ideas;
  4. identify and critically evaluate the assumptions in and the context of an argument;
  5. distinguish and convey inductive and deductive patterns as appropriate, sequencing arguments and evidence logically to draw valid conclusions and articulate related outcomes (implications and consequences).


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Has identified a clear theme they will use to relate the articles (Thesis/Purpose statement).


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Has a MLA bibliography at the end of the paper in ALPHABETICAL order


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Journal of Environmental Psychology 36 (2013) 257e269 Contents lists available at ScienceDirect Journal of Environmental Psychology journal homepage: Review The relationship between materialistic values and environmental attitudes and behaviors: A meta-analysis Megan Hurst a, *, Helga Dittmar a, Rod Bond a, Tim Kasser b a b School of Psychology, University of Sussex, Falmer, UK Knox College, Galesburg, IL, USA a r t i c l e i n f o a b s t r a c t Article history: Available online 1 October 2013 A growing body of evidence suggests that materialistic values may be negatively associated with proenvironmental attitudes and behaviors. This research used meta-analytic techniques to assess: the mean effect size of the correlation between materialistic values and pro-environmental attitudes and behaviors; the ‘true effect size’ adjusting for the reliability of the measures; and the effects of gender, age, population type and publication year on the size of the correlation. A significant, medium-sized association was found between materialistic values and both environmental attitudes and behaviors; these relationships were moderated by population type and publication year, but not by gender or age. Adjusted for reliability, the effects increased considerably, largely due to the low reliability of both types of environmental measures. The implications for future research are discussed, particularly with regard to the importance of using more reliable environmental measures and collecting data from more cultures. Practical applications are also highlighted, particularly as they might apply to environmental campaigns. Ó 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. Keywords: Meta-analysis Materialistic values Environmental attitudes Environmental behaviors 1. Introduction The concept of values is not new to the field of environmental psychology: the value that participants attach to the environment has been extensively studied, with ecospheric values or concerns, which focus on the innate value of nature, contrasted with more anthropocentric concerns, where importance is placed on the natural world in relation to its worth to humans (Stern & Dietz, 1994). These environmental values are predictive of a host of environmental attitudes and behaviors, from car use to the reduction and re-use of household waste (Barr, 2007; De Groot & Steg, 2007). These domain-specific values may be excellent predictors of environmental outcomes, but evidence is mounting that broader personal values may also have a place in predicting individuals’ environmental behaviors and attitudes. It is within this context that we consider the personal value of materialism: a set of values, goals or expectancies relating to the acquisition of wealth and material goods (Kasser & Ryan, 1996; Richins & Dawson, 1992). Materialistic values are important to consider in relation to environmental attitudes and behavior for two reasons: first, there is * Corresponding author. Tel.: þ44 1273877551. E-mail addresses: (M. Hurst), (H. Dittmar), (R. Bond), (T. Kasser). 0272-4944/$ e see front matter Ó 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. considerable theoretical and empirical support that this particular value may be negatively related to environmental outcomes, and second, it is an individual difference which may be more readily influenced than personality variables. Furthermore, there is as yet no systematic review of the growing body of studies examining the association of materialism with environmental attitudes and behaviors. A meta-analysis can synthesize this literature and examine potential moderating factors. 1.1. Materialism, the environment and value systems The fundamental opposition between the pursuit of economic success and pro-environmental behavior is a common theme. In 2005, President Bush cited the US economy as his primary reason for not signing the Kyoto agreement, and a recent survey found that a sizeable minority of Americans believed their country could not afford to reduce its impact on global warming given its struggling economy (43%; Leiserowitz, Maibach, Roser-Renouf, & Hmielowski, 2012). Others argue that the global and national pursuit of economic growth has placed substantial and unsustainable strain on the planet’s resources (Hamilton, 2010; Jackson, 2009; Speth, 2008). At the individual level, materialism can be considered the personal endorsement of this national drive for economic growth and of the values of capitalism. Theory suggests (Kasser, Cohn, Kanner, & Ryan, 2007) and studies show (Kasser, 2011a; Schwartz, 2007) that to the 258 M. Hurst et al. / Journal of Environmental Psychology 36 (2013) 257e269 extent nations pursue de-regulated, free-market forms of capitalism, their citizens are more likely to endorse values that concern wealth, social standing and competition between individuals. Further, Kasser (2011b) reported that countries whose citizens place relatively higher priority on these types of values (i.e., for Hierarchy and Mastery) also had higher levels of CO2 emissions, providing empirical support for the claims of Speth and others (2008; Jackson, 2009) that the pursuit of economic success at a national level may contribute to environmental damage. But even given these links between economic systems, values, and the environment at a national level, it is important to understand why the personal value of materialism might have negative associations with individual environmental attitudes and behaviors, similar to those reported at a national level. One possible explanation may be provided by research into value conflict, where studies have consistently shown that some personal values are compatible and associated, and some are in opposition (Grouzet et al., 2005; Schwartz, 1992). These value structures are rather similar at both a national and individual level, lending further support to our extrapolation from the national to the individual (Schwartz, 1992, 2006). Schwartz’s (1992, 2006) circumplex of values is a key demonstration of both of these findings, and has been validated on data from over 80 countries. In a circumplex model, values that are compatible are located adjacently, while those in conflict are located on opposite sides of the circumplex. Power and Achievement are adjacent values in this model, and fall directly opposite to the value of Universalism, which relates to valuing social justice, the environment and equality. This means that it is relatively difficult and uncommon for individuals to endorse both of these sets of values. As for materialism, Burroughs and Rindfleisch (2002) analyzed materialism measures alongside the Schwartz values, and found that materialism fell next to Power and Achievement, and opposite to Universalism. Further crosscultural research (Grouzet et al., 2005) has found that materialism consistently falls with other self-interested values, in opposition to values that may be associated with environmental concern. Interestingly, experimental work by Maio, Pakizeh, Cheung, and Rees (2009) shows that there is a dual process at work here, suggesting that materialistic values could have a doubly negative impact on environmental outcomes: priming related and environmentally detrimental values, such as Power, simultaneously increases their rated importance and decreases the importance rating given to the opposing value of Universalism, which is positively associated with environmental behavior. Evidence supporting this conflict between self-interested values, such as materialism, on the one hand and pro-environmental attitudes and behaviors on the other, as well as the strong association of pro-environmental and altruistic values, can also be seen outside of this values conflict literature. Research into domain-specific, environmental values has also suggested an association between prosocial concerns and concern for the environment. Specifically, studies have found strong links between ecospheric and altruistic environmental values, with some exploratory factor analyses yielding a single factor composed of the items from both these scales (De Groot & Steg, 2007; Nordlund & Garvill, 2002; Stern & Dietz, 1994; Swami, Chamorro-Premuzic, Snelgar, & Furnham, 2010). Furthermore, environmental crises have frequently been characterized by environmental psychologists as social, or commons, dilemmas (Hardin, 1968). In such crises, there is a clear personal benefit to consuming more, or ‘defecting’, but if all involved were to behave this way, the overall outcome would be less beneficial than if all ‘cooperated’ and reduced their consumption to sustainable levels. Research using commons dilemma paradigms has found interesting results relating to pro-social behavior, further supporting the suggestion that environmental and altruistic values are closely related (see Kopelman, Weber, & Messick, 2002, for a full review). These studies suggest that people with pro-social, as opposed to pro-self, orientations behave more cooperatively and harvest less in environmental resource dilemmas, but also that participants with higher levels of environmental concern behave more pro-socially in general, both in real life situations and in simulated commons dilemmas that are not directly related to the environment (Kaiser & Byrka, 2011; Van Lange, 1999). These findings provide further evidence that pro-social and environmental values may be related, whereas self-interest runs in conflict with these aims. Therefore, if, as Maio et al.’s (2009) work suggests, materialistic values have the ability to decrease the importance individuals place on the positively associated, pro-social value of Universalism, and at the same time increase the importance of the environmentally damaging values of Power and Achievement, they have further potential to be a strong and negative influence on environmental attitudes and behaviors at the individual level, by reducing prosocial tendencies as well as pro-environmental ones. 1.2. Goal pursuit behavior Another reason for expecting an association between materialism and environmental behaviors in particular is that different behaviors stem from different values or goals. The purchase of ‘ethical’ goods, such as fair-trade foods, has been associated positively with the Schwartz value of Universalism, and negatively with Power (Doran, 2009). If our values can influence what type of item we buy, they may also influence how environmentally damaging our purchases or behaviors are. Brown and Kasser (2005) argue that individuals pursuing intrinsic goals, such as personal growth, close relationships with family, and community well-being, are likely to engage in less harmful environmental behavior simply because these goals are not dependent on material goods or wealth for fulfillment. In contrast, pursuit of the materialistic goals of financial success, image and fame is grounded in conspicuous consumption and the accumulation of high status goods, such as sports cars with low fuel economy or high energy widescreen televisions; by necessity, pursuit of the materialistic ‘dream’ involves an increased negative impact on the environment, whereas the pursuit of selffulfillment and connection to others does not. From the different literature outlined above, it becomes clear that materialistic values may have an association with environmental behavior and attitudes that is worth considering in more detail. Although a brief glance at the available research would suggest that materialism is indeed negatively associated with environmental behaviors and attitudes, there is considerable variation between studies, both in effect sizes and in the measures used. A meta-analysis will allow a synthesis of the studies available, and enable us to consider the ‘true’ correlation between materialism and environmental outcomes. 1.3. Potential moderators An additional benefit of a meta-analysis is that it enables the consideration of potential moderators that might be difficult to assess within a single study. Identifying moderator variables is important, as doing so helps determine the conditions under which materialism is most influential on people’s environmental behavior and thus who might benefit most from any interventions. Previous research into environmental concern highlights two potential individual level moderators. Specifically, studies have suggested effects for gender and age on environmental concern and attitudes (Ewert & Baker, 2001; Swami et al., 2010), with women and older participants exhibiting more pro-environmental attitudes. It is possible that these differences may also have an M. Hurst et al. / Journal of Environmental Psychology 36 (2013) 257e269 influence on the link between materialism and environmental outcomes. Elements of the studies themselves may also influence the size of effect found between materialism and environmental attitudes and behaviors. Year of publication is a potentially interesting moderator, as it may provide insight into changes in environmental views over the years. If, overall, environmental attitudes and behaviors have improved over time and become more similar across the population, we might expect that the association with materialism could also decrease, as the variability in environmental scores limits the size of the correlation. Another study-level moderator could be the population from which the sample is drawn. Research often relies on student samples, as they are a convenient and accessible population, but previous work has found that student samples are often more homogeneous than community samples, with effect sizes from student samples often differing in both size and direction from those found in community samples (Peterson, 2001). As such, a consideration of the differences between student and community samples could be important for the progression of future research. A final moderator of interest is whether environmental behaviors or environmental attitudes are more strongly associated with materialism. Models relating attitudes to behavior, such as the theory of planned behavior (Ajzen, 1991), typically take the form of values influencing attitudes, which then inform behavior. Under such models we would expect a stronger association between materialism and attitudes than between materialism and behaviors. However, as outlined in Section 1.2, the link between materialism and environmental behavior more be more direct, and not simply occur through a joint association with attitudes. By establishing the strength of materialism’s association with both attitudes and behaviors, we can begin to consider the multiple ways in which materialism might be linked with environmental outcomes. 1.4. The present study The overall aim of the present study was to provide a synthesis of the research currently available linking materialistic values and goals with environmental attitudes and behaviors. We conducted a multivariate meta-analysis to assess the magnitude of the link between materialism and these constructs, assessing associations with behavior separately from attitudes to allow comparisons between the strength of the link with each outcome. Materialism was expected to be negatively associated with both proenvironmental attitudes and behaviors, in line with the theoretical predictions outlined above. We also aimed to consider potential moderators of the link between materialism and environmental outcomes by assessing how the size of the association varied depending on the proportions of female participants, mean age of participants, year of publication, population type, and the type of environmental outcome measured (behavior or attitude). In addition to these empirical goals, we aimed to locate and highlight gaps in the existing literature in order to guide future research. By assessing not just the research available, but the answers it could not provide, we hoped to be able to suggest new areas of research that might be particularly fruitful for understanding this link. 2. Method 259 Index to Theses by pairing a materialism search term with an environmental search term using the Boolean AND operator. Examples of materialism search terms are materialism, material values and financial success,1 and for environmental search terms we used environment*, the asterisk signifying a wild card. Databases were searched up to 30th September 2010 and we stopped taking unpublished datasets on 31st December 2010. Secondly, we conducted ancestor searches by scrutinizing the reference lists of review articles and the reports located from our database searches. Third, we carried out a descendency search by checking for articles citing materialism papers (e.g., Kasser & Ryan,1993) using Web of Knowledge. Fourth, we wrote to 21 prominent researchers in the field of materialism requesting any unpublished work; this resulted in one unpublished masters dissertation that provided two samples for the analysis. In order to be included, the report had to include at least one study in which there was a measure of materialism and a measure of environmental attitudes or behavior, and in which either the zero-order correlation between these measures was directly reported or there was sufficient information to derive or closely estimate that correlation (see Lipsey & Wilson, 2001, Appendix B). All reports except two that we located had sufficient information to be included in the meta-analysis; we wrote to both of these authors requesting the zero-order correlations and were successful in contacting one of these. Of the reports that did provide the required information, only one necessitated the calculation of the zero-order correlation from summary data (Clump, Brandel, & Sharpe, 2002); all other reports included the zero-order correlations. Given that this meta-analysis defined materialism as individual differences in people's long-term endorsement of values, goals, and associated beliefs that center on the importance of acquiring money and possessions that convey status, we excluded studies examining beliefs about the goals a society should pursue (e.g., Inglehart, 1990; Inglehart, Basanez, & Moreno, 1998), or attitudes towards money that did not match this materialistic outlook (e.g., the importance of budgeting money, from Tang, Luna-Arocas, Sutarso, & Tang, 2004). The majority of reports utilized the Aspiration Index (AI, Kasser & Ryan, 1996), the Materialistic Values Scale (MVS, Richins & Dawson, 1992), or a derivative of one of these measures (e.g., the MVS short version; Richins, 2004). We decided to treat these as similar measures and analyze the data in combination, as previous research has shown that these measures are strongly correlated (Kasser & Ahuvia, 2002). Furthermore, these scales are similar in their interpretation of materialism, as they measure not only the importance placed on money but also on associated values and beliefs such as status or image. For environmental behavior, we included any measure that assessed behaviors with specific environmental impacts. The behavior measures were predominantly multi-item Likert scale ratings by participants regarding how frequently they engaged in costly or pro-environmental behaviors (e.g., Brown & Kasser, 2005, Study 1; Unanue, 2010). We also chose to include intentions to engage in pro-environmental behavior (e.g., Hirsh & Dolderman, 2007), but where a study also provided a measure of current behavior we selected that correlation for use in the analysis instead (e.g., Banerjee & McKeage, 1994). For environmental attitudes, we included measures that assessed participants’ attitudes towards the truth of claims about environmental crises (e.g., 'The so-called “ecological crisis” facing humankind has been greatly exaggerated', New Ecological Paradigm, Dunlap, Van Liere, Mertig, & Jones, 2000) and attitudes towards 2.1. Literature search and inclusion criteria We used four strategies to locate reports of relevant studies. First, we searched the online databases PsychInfo, Web of Knowledge, and 1 The full set of materialism search terms was: materialism, financial success, extrinsic goals, materialistic values, material values, materialistic aspirations, financial aspirations, financial goals, and love of money. 260 M. Hurst et al. / Journal of Environmental Psychology 36 (2013) 257e269 protecting the environment; all of the scales included were multiitem scales such as the New Ecological Paradigm scale (NEP, Dunlap & Van Liere, 1978; Dunlap et al., 2000). We decided to exclude measures that were concerned with identity or self-image (Ecological Self Scale: Hirsh & Dolderman, 2007; Ecological Identification: Hinds & Sparks, 2008) as these did not explicitly focus on attitudes towards the environment. We aimed to include studies reported in any language, but retrieved only studies in English from our searches. 2.2. Coding of studies Our dataset was hierarchically structured with the research reports identified from the literature search, such as journal articles, book chapters or theses, at the highest level. Some of these reported more than one study, so the study was the next level, nested within report. A study could include more than one sample so, where possible, we coded effects separately for different samples in order to investigate possible moderators of effect size. Thus, we treated each sample as our independent unit of analysis, but these may be nested within study and in turn nested within report. Also, each sample could include multiple effect sizes, given that several materialism or environmental measures may have been used. We coded all of these correlations, although in Section 2.3 (Data Analysis) we discuss how we dealt with several correlations from a single sample. As necessary, correlations were reverse scored so that a negative correlation always indicated that higher materialism was associated with less concern for protecting the natural environment or with less pro-environmental behaviors. For each correlation, we recorded the sample size for that effect size (N), the materialism measure, the environmental measure, and the reliability of each of these when this information was reported. For the purposes of moderation analyses, we recorded, where possible: (a) percent female respondents; (b) mean age of the sample (or, if not available, age group); (c) the publication year of the report; and (d) the population type (student or community sample). We also coded the study design, data collection method and type of publication (e.g., journal article, book chapter, thesis or unpublished report) in our coding, but found that our database included crosssectional questionnaire studies only, and overwhelmingly published journal articles (there was one unpublished masters thesis), preventing moderator analyses with these variables.2 This coding approach was developed as part of a larger metaanalysis of materialism and its correlates. All of the reports included in this meta-analysis were coded by two of the authors and yielded high initial agreement (93.3% agreement; 14 errors from a possible 208) which rose above 95% when obvious errors, such as typos, were removed (10 remaining errors). other environmental outcome with materialism is treated as missing data. No study could provide more than two effects, namely, a correlation between materialism and environmental attitudes and between materialism and environmental behaviors. One study (Unanue, 2010) used both the Material Values Scale (MVS; Richins & Dawson, 1992) and the Aspiration Index (AI; Kasser & Ryan, 1993) as measures of materialism; we chose to use correlations with the MVS as it was the measure most commonly used by other studies. For studies that used two measures of either environmental attitudes (e.g., Hodgkinson & Innes, 2000) or environmental behaviors (e.g., Brown & Kasser, 2005), we averaged these effect sizes, as can be seen in Table 1.3 This multivariate approach also required that we recorded the correlation between the measures of environmental attitudes and environmental behaviors, as well as their correlation with materialism. In line with the Hedges and Olkin (1985) method of metaanalysis (for a general introduction see Borenstein, Hedges, Higgins, & Rothstein, 2009 or Lipsey & Wilson, 2001), we used the Fisher z (hyperbolic arctangent) transformation (z ¼ tanh1(r)) of the Pearson correlation coefficients for the analysis, and used formulas given in Stieger (1980) to find the variance and covariance of z -transformed correlations. We employed an integral z -to-r transformation for converting our results back to the r metric (Hafdahl, 2009, 2010; Hafdahl & Williams, 2009; see also Schulze, 2004). We ran random-effects models and hence treated our studies as a sample from a heterogeneous population to which we wish to make an inference (Borenstein, Hedges, Higgins, & Rothstein, 2010; Hedges & Vevea, 1998). Analyses were carried out using Cheung’s (2013b) metaSEM package available in R (Cheung, 2011; R Core Development Team, 2013) and we used maximum likelihood estimation to fit a random-effects model (Viechtbauer, 2005).4 Heterogeneity in effect size is likely and we estimated the variability in population effect sizes, reporting both confidence intervals and credibility intervals. Confidence intervals reflect the precision of our estimate of the mean e the values between which we can feel confident that the true mean effect size falls. Credibility intervals reflect the variability of the size of the effect in the population e the values between which the majority of effect sizes fall (Whitener, 1990). 2.3.1. Scale reliability We analyzed raw correlations and also correlations corrected for attenuation due to scale reliability.5 Hunter and Schmidt (2004) have argued that meta-analysts should seek to estimate the relationship between variables free from artefacts, such as measurement error, and thus estimate the true correlation between the constructs. It is also possible that differences in scale reliability may be confounded with moderators of the relationship and therefore should be controlled for. Hence, we recorded the reliability of measures (Cronbach’s alpha) and, where reliability was 2.3. Data analysis Because several studies included measures of both environmental attitudes and environmental behavior, we chose to carry out a multivariate meta-analysis that allowed us to summarize simultaneously the relationship of each type of measure with materialism (Berkey, Anderson, & Hoaglin, 1996; Cheung, 2013a; Kalaian & Kasim, 2008; Kalaian & Raudenbush,1996). Studies that used only one type of environmental measure are also included, and the correlation of the 2 We set out to code a number of other characteristics of the sample, including the average income of the participants, the percent White participants, the proportion who did not complete High School or equivalent and, for those in higher education, the subject studied. However, we were unable to code these details for all but a few studies. We discuss the implications of this in Section 4 (Discussion). 3 Thus the 11 effect sizes for attitudes were reduced by 3, to 8 effect sizes: one correlation removed from each of Unanue’s (2010) samples, and two correlations aggregated from Hodgkinson and Innes (2000). The 15 effects sizes for behaviors were reduced from 15 to 11: one correlation removed from each of Unanue’s (2010) samples, one correlation removed from Banerjee and McKeage (1994, intentions measure), and two correlations aggregated from Brown and Kasser (2005, study 2). Two further correlations were removed (Richins & Dawson, 1992) as these were partial correlations involving income and thus not comparable with the other effect sizes, leaving 9 effect sizes from the behavior measures. 4 Cheung (2013a) describes how it is also possible to estimate a multivariate meta-analysis using structural equation modeling software. We used Mplus Version 7.11 (Muthén & Muthén, 2012) to check our results. 5 r xy , obtained by the formula, The estimate of the true correlation, b pffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffi b r xy ¼ rxy = rxx ryy , where rxx is the reliability of x and ryy is the reliability of y, with x representing the materialism measure and y representing the environmental measure for any given effect size. M. Hurst et al. / Journal of Environmental Psychology 36 (2013) 257e269 261 Table 1 Studies included in the meta-analysis: effect sizes and study characteristics. Study Na r b r Environmental attitudes Banerjee and McKeage (1994) 309 .20 271 107 391 * Average 949 259 b Materialism measure Outcome measure Type of publication Country Percent female Average age/age group (years) Population .22 MVS-18 [.83] Journal article USA N/A Over 18 Student .20 .14 .29 .35 .32 .14 .09 .23 .17 .34 .42 .38 .18 .12 MVS-18 [.87] MVS-18 [.87] MES-1 [.90] MES-1 [.90] [.90] MVS-9 [.83] MVS-9 [.82] Environmentalism Scale [.92] ECOSCALE [.80] NEP [.85] NEP [.80] EAS [.77] [.79] NEP [.73] NEP [.69] Journal article Journal article Journal article USA USA Australia 69.00 69.16 60.40 21.7 21.0 21.5 Student Student Student Masters thesis Masters thesis UK Chile 58.69 52.90 44.6 34.7 General General 87 .56 .87 MVS-18 [.87*] Journal article Australia 62.07 27.7 Student 101 .37 .43 MVS-18 [.87*] Journal article Australia 78.22 25.9 Student 309 .15 .18 MVS-18 [.83] Journal article USA N/A Over 18 Student Brown and Kasser (2005) e Study 1 206 .21 .31 Kasser-4 [.68] Journal article USA 44.17 14.2 U-18 Brown and Kasser (2005) e Study 2 400 .31 .43 AI-rel [.64] Journal article USA 65.50 43.7 General * .43 .56 AI-rel [.64] Hirsh and Dolderman (2007) Average 107 .37 .11 .50 .12 [.64] MVS-18 [.87] Journal article USA 69.16 21.0 Student Unanue (2010) e UK sample 949 .32 .44 MVS-9 [.83] Masters thesis UK 58.69 44.6 General Unanue (2010) e Chilean sample 259 .33 .48 MVS-9 [.82] Masters thesis Chile 52.90 34.7 General Richins and Dawson (1992) 205 .21 .31 MVS-18 [.83] Journal article USA N/A Over 18 General Sheldon and McGregor (2000) e Study 1 80 .32 .40 AI-rel [.82] Journal article USA 70.00 Over 18 Student Sheldon and McGregor (2000) e Study 2 152 .17 .21 AI-rel [.82*] Journal article USA 63.16 Over 18 Student Clump et al. (2002) Hirsh and Dolderman (2007) Hodgkinson and Innes (2000) Unanue (2010) e UK sample Unanue (2010) e Chilean sample Saunders and Munro (2000) e Study 2 Saunders and Munro (2000) e Study 4 Environmental behaviors Banerjee and McKeage (1994) Voluntary Simplicity Scale [.48] Rays’s environmentalism Scale [.85] Pro-environmental Purchasing [.80*] Environmentally Responsible Behavior [.67] Eco-Footprint [.80*] Pro-Environmental Behavior [.92] [.87] Pro-Environmental Goals [.94] Costly Environmental Behavior [.65] Costly Environmental Behavior [.57] Donations to Ecological Organisations (1 item) [.57*] Communal Resource Use (game) [.80*] Communal Resource Use (game) [.80*] Key to Materialism Measures. MVS-18: 18 item original Materialistic Values Scale; MVS-9: Short version of the Materialistic Values Scale; MVS-adapt: 8 item scale by Kasser (2005), MVS-adapted items; MES-1: Tang’s Money Ethics Scale (1992), Factor 1, from Hodgkinson and Innes (2000) factor analysis; AI-rel: Aspiration Index, extrinsic e intrinsic; Kasser-4: 4 item measure, value of money. Key to Environmental Measures. Environmentalism Scale: Banerjee and McKeage (1994) Environmentalism Scale; ECOSCALE: Scale by Stone, Barnes & Montgomery (1995); EAS: Environmental Attitudes Scale, Forgas & Jolliffe (1994); NEP: New Ecological/Environmental Paradigm, Dunlap and Van Liere (1978) and Dunlap et al. (2000); Rays’s Environmentalism Scale (Ray, 1975); Voluntary Simplicity Scale: Importance of reducing material consumption, Saunders and Munro (2000); Pro-Environmental Purchasing: Banerjee and McKeage (1994) measure; Environmentally Responsible Behavior: Brown and Kasser (2005) measure; Eco-Footprint: EcologicalFootprint Questionnaire, Dholakia and Wackernagel (1999); Pro-Environmental Behavior: Green-Demers, Pelletier, and Menard (1997) measure; Pro-Environmental Goals: Hirsh and Dolderman (2007) measure; Environmental Resource Conservation Behaviors: Brown and Kasser (2005) measure; Costly Environmental Behaviors: Kaiser and Wilson measure (2004). Notes: N/A ¼ not available. Reliabilities for scales are provided in square brackets [ ]. Asterisks (*) within these brackets indicate an imputed value. a Rows with an asterisk in this column record effect sizes using a different outcome measure. Where samples have more than one measure, effect sizes are aggregated to ensure that the analysis is based on independent measures. The effect size used in analysis for these samples is reported in the row below, marked ‘Average’. b b r ¼ correlation corrected for reliability of the materialism measure and the outcome measure. 262 M. Hurst et al. / Journal of Environmental Psychology 36 (2013) 257e269 Table 2 Measures of materialism and environmental attitudes and behavior. Measure Materialism measures Material Values Scale (Richins & Dawson, 1992)a Aspiration Index (Kasser & Ryan, 1996) Money Ethic Scale (Tang, 1992) Other Material Values Scales (4 items; Brown & Kasser, 2005); (8 items, Kasser, 2005) Environmental attitudes New environmental paradigm (Dunlap & Van Liere, 1978) Environmentalist attitudes (Ray, 1975) Environmental Attitudes Scale (Forgas & Jolliffe, 1994) Environmentalism Scale (Banerjee & McKeage, 1994) Ecoscale (Stone et al., 1995) Voluntary simplicity (Saunders & Munro, 2000) Environmental behaviors The Ecological Footprint Questionnaire (Dholakia & Wackernagel, 1999)b Environmental goals (Hirsh & Dolderman, 2007) Material simplicity (Leonard-Barton, 1981) Ecological awareness (Leonard-Barton, 1981) Costly environmental behavior (Kaiser & Wilson, 2004) Resource dilemma (Sheldon & McGregor, 2000) Positive environmental behavior (Green-Demers et al., 1997) Pro-environmental consumption patterns (Banerjee & McKeage, 1994) Single item measures (intention for pro-environmental behavior, how much give to ecological conservation organisations) a b Number of samples 15 7 2 2 6 1 1 1 1 1 2 1 1 1 4 2 1 1 2 In two samples, a shortened 9-item version of the MVS (Richins, 2004) was used. In one sample, a shortened version adapted for use with adolescents was used. not reported, we estimated a reasonable reliability for the particular measure using recognized methods.6 We did not use Fisher’s z transformation for the analysis of correlations corrected for attenuation since formulas for the asymptotic variance and covariance are not available,7 but instead analyzed the corrected correlations. 3. Results 3.1. Samples included in the meta-analysis In total, we located 13 independent samples, which contained 11 correlations between materialism and environmental attitudes (across 8 independent samples), and 15 correlations between materialism and environmental behavior (across 9 independent samples). Table 1 details the studies included in the meta-analysis, along with the correlations and various characteristics of the studies that were used in the moderation analyses. Table 2 details the measures of materialism, environmental attitudes and environmental behavior used in these studies. Regarding measures of materialism, the majority of samples used the Material Values Scale 6 Of the 26 correlations, only one came from a study that did not report the reliability of the materialism measure: Sheldon & McGregor (2000, study 2). The reliability for the materialism measure for this study was fixed at .80, as this was the median reliability value and it was a validated, multi-item measure. For the environmental outcomes, 6 correlations came from studies that did not report the reliability of these measures. For one using a single item, we fixed the reliability at .57, as this was the average reliability for a single item measure of job satisfaction estimated by Wanous, Reichers, and Hudy (1997). For the remaining five correlations, the reliability was fixed at .80, the median reliability. 7 We are grateful to an anonymous reviewer for a discussion of this issue. Fig. 1. Distribution of correlations between materialism and environmental attitudes and behavior (k ¼ 26). (MVS; Richins & Dawson, 1992) or the Aspiration Index (AI; Kasser & Ryan, 1996). The most widely used measure of environmental attitudes was the New Environmental Paradigm (Dunlap & Van Liere, 1978). Measures of environmental behavior were more varied, as Table 2 details. The distribution of all 26 correlations is given in Fig. 1. The median is .21, the 25th percentile is .32 and the 75th percentile is .14. Only two correlations were not negative. As the figure shows, the distribution is broadly symmetrical (skewness ¼ .03) and kurtosis is moderate (kurtosis ¼ .78). Overall, then, the correlation of materialism with environmental attitudes and behaviors is small to medium-sized. The range of effect sizes from all the studies we located can be seen in the forest plot in Fig. 2 for studies correlating materialism with environmental attitudes and in the forest plot in Fig. 3 for studies correlating materialism with environmental behavior. Characteristics of the 13 independent samples are given in Table 3. Most studies were reported in journal articles published after 2000. Typically, the sample size was around 200, a somewhat higher proportion of women than men participated, and participants were primarily in their mid-twenties. One sample used adolescent participants. About half of the participants were in higher education and the majority of the studies were conducted in the United States. Although not shown in the table, all studies were cross-sectional and used questionnaire measures. 3.2. Environmental attitudes and behaviors The results of the multivariate meta-analysis on the raw correlations are presented in Table 4. Materialism was negatively associated with both environmental attitudes (r ¼ .22, p < .05) and behaviors (r ¼ .24, p < .05). Thus, more materialistic individuals held more negative attitudes about the environment and engaged in less positive and more negative behaviors related to the environment. Table 5 gives the analysis for correlations corrected for reliability. When the correlations were adjusted for the reliability of the materialism and outcome measures, the two effect sizes increased considerably, from small-medium to medium correlar ¼ :28; behaviors br ¼ :32; as categorized by tions (attitudes b Cohen, 1988). This increase is due particularly to the fact that the reliability of some measures of environmental attitudes and M. Hurst et al. / Journal of Environmental Psychology 36 (2013) 257e269 263 Fig. 2. Forest plot of samples reporting correlation between materialism and environmental attitudes. Note. N ¼ sample size, CI ¼ confidence interval. The figure shows the correlation, the sample size of each study and the limits of the 95% confidence interval. The size of the mark indicating each correlation is proportional to the sample size of that study: the larger the mark, the larger the sample. The lines either side of each mark indicate the size of the 95% confidence interval for that effect size. Figure created in the Metafor package for R (Viechtbauer, 2010). environmental behavior was quite low, as can be seen from Table 1; for example, the Voluntary Simplicity Scale (Saunders & Munro, 2000) had a reliability of .48. The lower the reliability of a scale, the greater the increase in the size of the correlation when it is corrected for reliability. The relationship between materialism and environmental attitudes and that between materialism and environmental behaviors are of very similar magnitude, and a likelihood ratio test indicates that there is no significant difference between the size of these correlations (c2 ¼ 0.05, df ¼ 1, p > .05, for the raw correlations; c2 ¼ 2.75, df ¼ 1, p > .05, for the corrected correlations). There is significant heterogeneity in the size of correlations, as indicated by the significant Q statistics for each of the analyses. For the analysis of the raw correlations, Q ¼ 78.08, df ¼ 15, p < .01; for correlations corrected for reliability, Q ¼ 97.94, df ¼ 15, p < .01. The I2 statistic quantifies the proportion of the total variance due to variability in study effect size and, as is shown in Table 4, this proportion is high for environmental attitudes, but a good deal lower for environmental behaviors. This difference is most likely due to one positive correlation between materialism and environmental attitudes (Unanue, 2010, Chilean sample), in strong contrast to the trend of negative effect sizes. For both attitudes and Fig. 3. Forest plot of samples reporting correlation between materialism and environmental behavior. Note. N ¼ sample size, CI ¼ confidence interval. The figure shows the correlation, sample size of each study and the limits of the 95% confidence interval. The size of the mark indicating each correlation is proportional to the sample size of that study: the larger the mark, the larger the sample. The lines either side of each mark indicate the size of the 95% confidence interval for that effect size. Figure created in the Metafor package for R (Viechtbauer, 2010). 264 M. Hurst et al. / Journal of Environmental Psychology 36 (2013) 257e269 Table 3 Sample characteristics (k ¼ 13 unless otherwise indicated). Characteristic Report characteristics Type of publication Journal article Dissertation Year of publication 1990e1999 2000e2009 2010 onwards Study characteristics Sample size Median ¼ 206 Range: 80e949 Reliability of materialism measure Median ¼ .87 Range: .64e.92 Reliability of environmental measure Median ¼ .80 Range: .48e.92 k Characteristic 11 2 2 9 2 Table 4 Correlations between materialism and environmental attitudes and behavior. k 95% CI for r Participant characteristics Percentage female (k ¼ 11) Median ¼ 63.2% Range: 44.2%e78.2% Average age (k ¼ 9) Median ¼ 25.9 Range: 14e45 Age group 18 years and under Over 18 years Both over and under 18 Whether in higher education All in higher education General population Under 18 years old Country study conducted in USA Australia UK Chile 1 N k r LL UL b s2 I2 Attitudes Behaviors Overall 2474 2667 8 9 13 .22 .24 .33 .30 .11 .17 .0266 .0054 88.0% 59.1% Note. N ¼ sample size, k ¼ number of studies, r ¼ estimated correlation, s 2 ¼ estimated variance CI ¼ confidence interval, LL ¼ lower limit, UL ¼ upper limit, b of population effect sizes, I2 ¼ proportion of total variance due to variance in population effect sizes (Higgins & Thompson, 2002). The estimated population correlation between the effects for attitudes and those for behaviors was .89. 10 2 8 4 1 8 3 1 1 behaviors, the 95% confidence interval does not include 0, and thus the average effect size is significantly different from zero at the .05 level. The confidence interval and the 80% credibility interval for the corrected correlation both indicate at least a small effect, but one that could be medium to large. There is, however, heterogeneity in the size of the correlation in the population of studies, suggesting the importance of looking for moderators of the size of correlation. 3.3. Moderator analysis Given this heterogeneity, we extended the analysis to include moderator variables. In addition to the moderators reported in Table 6, there were several other variables that we coded because they might be expected to moderate the effect size; unfortunately, an insufficient number of studies reported enough relevant information to enable us to conduct these moderator analyses. Specifically, few studies provided any data that might be used to estimate the socio-economic status of the participants, with only two reporting personal income or the educational attainment of the sample.8 Percentage of white participants was recorded by only three studies, all of which reported figures in the 90e100% range, demonstrating either a limited consideration of ethnicity by researchers or poor reporting of this demographic information. Additionally, with the exception of a single sample from Chile (Unanue, 2010), the samples came from Westernized, Anglo countries (UK, USA, Australia), thus preventing any assessment of variation between countries on potentially relevant indices such as country-level wealth or values. We were, however, able to assess the potential moderating effect of the year of publication (ranging from 1992 to 2010), the percentage of women participants in the sample (which ranged from 44 to 78 percent), the mean age of participants (which ranged 8 Measures The two studies that reported income clearly sampled similar populations, as the three samples they provided had a small range of incomes, from $33,900 to $50,800. The two studies reporting educational achievement also had similar and high levels, with two samples from one report (Unanue, 2010) having 100% completing higher education and the second study having 77% attaining this level. Table 5 Correlations corrected for reliability between materialism and environmental attitudes and behavior. 80% credibility interval Measures N k b r LL UL b s2 I2 Attitudes Behaviors Overall 2474 2667 8 9 13 .28 .32 .57 .46 .01 .18 .0518 .0121 91.6% 68.2% Note. N ¼ sample size, k ¼ number of studies, r ¼ estimated correlation, s 2 ¼ estimated variance CI ¼ confidence interval, LL ¼ lower limit, UL ¼ upper limit, b of population effect sizes, I2 ¼ proportion of total variance due to variance in population effect sizes (Higgins & Thompson, 2002). The estimated population correlation between the effects for attitudes and those for behaviors was .89. from 14 to 45 years), and the population from which the sample was drawn (student or community) on both the relationship between materialism and environmental attitudes and the relationship between materialism and environmental behaviors. We found no evidence that the relationship between materialism and either attitudes or behaviors was moderated by percentage of women participants or by the mean age of participants (ps > .05). For year of publication, we found contrasting results for attitudes and behaviors: the relationship between environmental attitudes and materialism was less negative the more recently the study was published (b ¼ .02, p < .05), whereas the relationship between environmental behaviors and materialism was not affected by publication year.9 For the contrast between studies using student samples vs. those using community samples, we found a significant moderation of the relationship between materialism and environmental attitudes, with community samples showing a weaker negative link between materialism and environmental attitudes than student samples (b ¼ .27, p < .05). For environmental behaviors, we found the opposite: community samples showed a stronger negative link compared to student samples (b ¼ .15, p < .05). 3.4. Publication bias A major concern in any meta-analysis is that estimation of the effects is biased by the fact that studies that find non-significant effects, or effects in the opposite direction to what was expected, tend not to get published and therefore are not included in the 9 The b values reported here represent the unstandardized regression weights from the moderation analysis, where the outcome variable is the effect size of the study. Thus, a b value of .02 for publication year means that for each year later a study was published, the effect size for environmental attitudes changes by þ.02. In the case of our effect sizes, this means a reduction in magnitude, as the mean effect size is negative (attitudes: r ¼ .22). M. Hurst et al. / Journal of Environmental Psychology 36 (2013) 257e269 265 Table 6 Moderators of effect size. 95% CI Moderator Year of publication Proportion female participants Mean age of participants Population (community vs. students) Attitudes Behavior Attitudes Behavior Attitudes Behavior Attitudes Behavior k Estimate se z LL UL QE 17 0.02 0.01 1.36 0.08 0.01 0.01 0.27 0.15 0.01 0.01 1.86 0.45 0.05 0.00 0.12 0.07 2.14* 1.46 0.73 0.18 0.20 1.26 2.18* 2.15* 0.00 0.02 5.00 0.96 0.08 0.01 0.51 0.01 0.038 0.003 2.29 0.80 0.10 0.00 0.03 0.29 24.01 (df ¼ 14) 14 12 16 29.61 (df ¼ 11) 7.58 (df ¼ 9) 15.48 (df ¼ 13) *p < .05. Note. Population variable is dummy coded as 0 ¼ community sample, 1 ¼ student sample. Some confidence intervals for significant effects may appear to include zero due to rounding. Moderator estimates marked with * are significant. review (Rothstein, Sutton, & Borenstein, 2005). To examine this possibility, we applied funnel plot asymmetry techniques separately to environmental attitudes and to environmental behaviors. Both Begg and Mazumdar’s (1994) rank order correlation (Attitudes: Kendall’s s ¼ .21, p > .05; Behaviors: Kendall’s s ¼ .17, p > .05) and Sterne and Egger’s (2005) regression test (Attitudes: t ¼ 1.49, df ¼ 6, p > .05; Behaviors: t ¼ 0.88, df ¼ 7, p > .05) were non-significant for both sets of studies, indicating that there is no appreciable ‘funnel plot asymmetry’. That is, there is no indication that studies with low precision (higher standard error) and showing a positive correlation between environmental outcomes and materialism are ‘missing’ from the published literature. Using Duval and Tweedie’s (2000) ‘trim and fill’ method we came to the same conclusion. We found no studies were ‘missing’ from one side of the funnel plot and therefore that trim and fill estimates were not necessary. 4. Discussion Our analyses clearly demonstrate that materialism is negatively associated with both pro-environmental attitudes and behaviors. Materialists are less likely to believe that humans need to change their behavior to protect the environment and are more likely to engage in higher levels of environmentally-damaging behavior themselves. These relationships are not moderated by either gender or age, the two participant variables we considered. Thus, it seems that materialistic values are equally damaging to the environment regardless of who endorses them, and that materialists may represent a particularly important-to-reach, but relatively obstinate, population: the more materialistic people are, the worse their environmental behavior is likely to be, but the less likely they are to believe that the world is in danger and that they should alter their behavior to protect the environment. The similarity of the effect sizes for environmental attitudes and behaviors is noteworthy. If materialism’s association with environmental behavior is due solely to the two constructs’ joint links with attitudes, it would be reasonable to expect a smaller correlation of materialism with behaviors than with attitudes. The fact that the correlation of materialism with behaviors is not significantly smaller than that with attitudes provides tentative evidence that materialism has a direct association with environmental behavior, possibly through differences in the goal pursuit behaviors of materialists and non-materialists, as suggested by Brown and Kasser (2005). Future research could clarify this by including measures of both environmental behaviors and attitudes and performing mediation analyses. This finding in particular not only has interesting theoretical implications, but important practical ones for environmental charities and agencies hoping to use public information campaigns to prevent environmental crises. At present, many campaigns revolve around increasing awareness of specific issues (e.g., “The greatest wonder of the sea is that it’s still alive”, Greenpeace) or emphasizing the responsibility of individuals to engage in specific behaviors (e.g., “If you don’t preserve nature by using low wattage light bulbs, who will?”, EDF Energy). Our findings suggest that materialists are simultaneously engaging in more damaging behaviors whilst not believing there to be a need to change these behaviors, meaning that they may be even less responsive to these messages of awareness and responsibility than the rest of the population. The suggestion from the results that materialistic values may be linked directly to environmental behaviors raises the possibility of different kinds of campaigns aimed at reducing materialistic values, which could be beneficial for a range of environmental and social causes (see Crompton, 2010, for an overview of such values-based campaigning). Support for the benefits of such values-based campaigns can be found in recent experimental research where priming intrinsic, rather than extrinsic, values resulted in higher levels of concern for global problems, more willingness to take personal responsibility, and better ecological policy recommendations (Chilton, Crompton, Kasser, Maio, & Nolan, 2012; Sheldon, Nichols, & Kasser, 2011). Strikingly, the Chilton et al. (2012) study specifically recruited extrinsically-oriented, or materialistic, participants, highlighting the promise of values-based campaigns even among those with the most environmentally damaging values. The lack of a moderating effect on the relationship between materialism and environmental measures by the mean age of the samples may initially seem surprising given the rising prominence of environmental concerns in recent years. However, it is worth considering the restricted range of age in these samples before drawing any firm conclusions. The studies in our analysis were by and large lacking older cohorts, as the range of mean sample ages varied from 14 to 45. It may therefore be beneficial for future research to consider the association between materialism and environmental attitudes and behaviors in older age groups. The effect of population type (student or community) on the relationship of materialism to environmental attitudes and behaviors is a difficult one to explain. This finding is potentially important, given that many psychological studies use university students as a proxy for the population at large; our findings suggest that generalizability may be not be a good assumption, as the correlation of materialism with both of the environmental outcomes varied considerably between students and community samples. That said, it is important to note that of the 17 effect sizes of materialism with environmental attitudes and behaviors, only four of these came from non-student samples, and two of these were from the only sample from a non-Western country (Unanue, 2010, Chilean sample); one of these effect sizes also happens to be the only positive effect size between materialism and attitudes. 266 M. Hurst et al. / Journal of Environmental Psychology 36 (2013) 257e269 As such, it may be that the reported moderating effect of student vs. community samples is actually due to some other confounding factor concerning culture. Publication year also moderated the size of the correlation between materialism and environmental attitudes, but not behaviors: the correlation between materialism and attitudes becomes less negative the more recently a study was published. Perhaps consensus has grown in the global community concerning the reality of climate change and other environmental crises to such an extent that even people scoring high in materialism find it difficult (though not impossible) to deny this reality when questioned about it in an environmental attitudes survey: if this is so, it would result in reduced variability in environmental attitudes across the samples, leaving less variance for materialist values to explain. In contrast to these results for attitudes, it appears that materialism’s association with negative environmental behaviors has not weakened over time. Such a pattern is difficult to reconcile, but again suggests the importance of considering the many ways that attitudes and behaviors are not consistently associated with each other. However, these conclusions should be treated quite tentatively, given that the relatively small size of our sample makes it vulnerable to the influence of outliers: a single large effect size from an early or late study could have easily influenced the results of this analysis. When we adjusted for the reliability of the materialism and environmental measures in order to calculate a ‘true’ effect size, the magnitude of the correlations between materialism and both environmental attitudes and environmental behaviors increased considerably. This adjustment is important for two reasons. First, it takes both correlations from small-medium to medium size (.22 to .29, and .24 to .32). In the context of other individual traits and environmental attitudes and behaviors, such as the Big Five personality traits (e.g., McCrae & Costa, 1989), these materialism effect sizes are considerably larger than the effect sizes associated with personality traits, which tend to vary between a small to small-medium effect size, when they are present at all (.10 to .20; e.g., Hirsh, 2010; Milfont & Sibley, 2012; Wiseman & Bogner, 2003). Such a comparative result suggests that materialistic values and goals are relatively strong individual predictors of environmental attitudes and behaviors. The true size of the correlations provides further support for the potential for increasing pro-environmental attitudes and behaviors by targeting materialistic values and goals, as not only does materialism appear to be more strongly associated with these variables than are other individual differences, but it is also potentially more malleable: whereas personality traits are relatively stable variables that are difficult to change, materialism is an individual difference that can be successfully decreased, as has been demonstrated in two experimental studies with children and adolescents (Chaplin & John, 2007; Kasser et al., 2013). This leap in the reliability-adjusted coefficient is also important because it reveals that the environmental measures used in the research studies we included have less-than-optimal reliabilities, which leads to underestimations of the actual correlation between these environmental measures and other variables. Hawcroft and Milfont’s (2010) meta-analysis of the use of the NEP also highlighted this problem with reliability, reporting that over half of their 139 studies did not report reliability, and those that did had surprisingly low reliabilities, with a mean alpha of only .68. An important goal for environmental research in general could therefore be to develop scales with higher reliabilities so as to more accurately estimate the size of associations between these measures and other variables of interest. Another finding from Hawcroft and Milfont’s (2010) metaanalysis of the NEP mirrored in our research was that reporting of important demographic variables was often poor or non-existent: Hawcroft and Milfont found that almost a third of their 139 studies failed to report even basic demographic descriptive statistics such as mean age or sample gender composition for their samples. Although the basic demographic details were better reported in the studies we included in this meta-analysis, only two studies reported income or level of education. These variables are important to consider as both have previously been associated with differing levels of willingness to make personal sacrifices for the environment and of engagement in pro-environmental behavior (Clark, Kotchen, & Moore, 2003; Kemmelmeier, Krol, & Young, 2002), and thus could be potential moderators of the relationship between materialism and both environmental attitudes and behaviors. However, with so few studies reporting these variables, it was unfortunately not possible to assess the potential moderation of the link between materialism and the environmental measures by income or education in our sample of studies. Therefore it may be worthwhile for researchers in this field to ensure that they record these variables so future meta-analyses can consider such effects. The composition of our dataset also highlights the dearth of cross-cultural research in this area. In our collection of studies, we found only one sample from a non-developed, non-Western country: a masters dissertation that had collected data from Chilean participants (Unanue, 2010). With little variation in where our samples came from, it was not possible to assess country-level differences in the link between materialism and environmental outcomes, but the data from our Chilean sample suggest the importance of considering other areas of the world, as, for these Chilean participants, materialism had a non-significant association with environmental attitudes. Although this is only one sample from one country, these results highlight the possibility that materialism and environmental outcomes may not be as conflicting as theory and evidence from Western developed countries suggests. This is particularly interesting as previous research has found that nations with lower GDP and lower scores on the Human Development Index (HDI) have citizens with reduced levels of willingness to make sacrifices for the environment (Haller & Hadler, 2008). Chile, with a GDP of approximately USD 14,000 and a HDI (excluding income) score of .862 (World Bank, n.d.; United Nations Development Programme, n.d.), ranks considerably lower on both of these indicators than do the other countries included in the meta-analysis (UK, USA, and Australia), and yet the relationship between materialism and environmental attitudes was not negative there. If this non-significant finding was replicated across several other countries, it could call into question the universality of the idea so predominant in Western thought that personal and national economic growth are at odds with protecting the environment. It may, in fact, be the case that materialistic values have a different meaning in less developed countries. Research on income and well-being has shown that higher levels of country-level income have a greater effect in increasing subjective well-being among poorer countries (e.g., Inglehart, Foa, Peterson, & Welzel, 2008). It may be that the pursuit of additional wealth by individuals within these countries, perhaps spurred in part by personal materialistic values, may be positively related to important well-being factors, such as the satisfaction of basic psychological needs. This, in turn, may have a consequent effect on environmental behavior and attitudes for individuals in these countries. Future research should consider expanding to encompass a wider range of countries so that it is possible to more fully understand the link between materialistic values and environmental outcomes. However, our finding that materialistic values and environmental outcomes are associated in these three developed countries is still important, even if it is found to be the case that it is not replicated in M. Hurst et al. / Journal of Environmental Psychology 36 (2013) 257e269 less developed countries: Stern (2007) reports that OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation & Development) countries consume on average eight times as much energy per capita as do developing countries in Africa and Asia. Given the environmental and political power of the wealthier countries, understanding factors associated with environmental attitudes and behaviors of their citizens may be critical in reducing environmental harm in coming years. A final suggestion for future research is that researchers might consider more closely the components of their environmental attitude measures. Upon close consideration of the items included within these measures in our sample of studies, this super-ordinate category is more varied than would be ideal. There are clearly different types of attitudinal items, but individual scales often combined these types of items. Hawcroft and Milfont’s (2010) meta-analysis of the NEP highlights this as a problem in the case of the NEP, which is often used as a single measure without validating its purported unidimensionality. These combinations of highly varied items may be partially responsible for the poor reliabilities mentioned earlier in this section, but they also prevent a full understanding of precisely how materialism is related to environmental attitudes. Several scales, for example, include items measuring a belief in the existence of a ‘trade off’ between the environment and the economy, mirroring the common concept that protecting the environment will cost humans economically and reduce quality of life. Very few studies separate these items from the main attitude scale, but the two studies that did provide separate correlations for these specific trade-off items (Banerjee & McKeage, 1994; Hodgkinson & Innes, 2000) demonstrated higher correlations between materialism and these items than between materialism and the overall scale,10 raising the possibility that it is these particular attitudes that drive the association between materialism and environmental attitudes. There are other distinct sets of items within the literature, such as items relating to denial of environmental threats or nature’s purpose in supporting humanity, that may provide support for other explanations of the link between materialism and environmental attitudes, such as materialists holding objectifying views of the environment (Kasser, 2002) or denying environmental crises in a defensive response to reduce feelings of guilt due to their lifestyle. It is of course unlikely that only one of these processes linking materialism and environmental attitudes is occurring, but greater consideration by researchers in this area of the scales they use, and how they analyze particular items within them, would help in disentangling the web of potential processes. In sum, the limitations of this meta-analysis reflect in part the limitations of the literature available, as outlined above. Due to the correlational nature of the research, we cannot draw any conclusions from our mean effect sizes about causality. These findings may only be applicable to the countries from which samples were available and can provide only a rough outline of the associations due to the lack of reported moderator variables and undivided environmental attitude scales. Another particularly important limitation that deserves consideration is the issue of the nature of environmental behavior measures used by the reports we sampled. All the measures included were either self-reported behaviors or in the case of one effect size, self- 10 The two studies were Banerjee and McKeage (1994; External Environmentalism subscale) and Hodgkinson and Innes (2000; Environmental Attitudes Scale e Trade-Off Subscale). In both cases, the specific ‘trade-off’ subscale correlated more strongly with the measure of materialism than the full scale. This was particularly striking in the Hodgkinson and Innes (2000) study, where the correlation with materialism for the trade-off scale was .42, compared to .24 with the full scale. 267 reported behavioral intentions. The lack of objective behavioral measures is important, as the discrepancy between self-report and objective measures of environmental behavior is a well-documented phenomenon (Corral-Verdugo, 1997; Fuji, Hennessy, & Mak, 1985; Hamilton, 1985). Beliefs about re-using and recycling have been more strongly linked to self-report measures of these behaviors than to objective measures (Corral-Verdugo, 1997), and it may be that materialism similarly shares a stronger link with self-reported proenvironmental behavior than with actual behavior. As with the other limitations of our work, this missing knowledge highlights the importance of future work investigating whether materialism is as strongly linked to objective measures of environmental behavior. In spite of its limitations however, we hope that this metaanalysis is a significant step in bringing together the literature on materialistic values and their links with environmental attitudes and behaviors, and in highlighting areas where more research needs to be done in this particular field, and in that of environmental psychology more generally. 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See discussions, stats, and author profiles for this publication at: Materialistic values: Their causes and consequences Article · January 2004 DOI: 10.1037/10658-002 CITATIONS READS 193 15,452 4 authors, including: Richard M Ryan Kennon Sheldon Australian Catholic Univ., Strathfield, Australia University of Missouri 381 PUBLICATIONS 136,150 CITATIONS 192 PUBLICATIONS 21,850 CITATIONS SEE PROFILE Some of the authors of this publication are also working on these related projects: Solitude project View project Principal Health and Wellbeing View project All content following this page was uploaded by Richard M Ryan on 20 February 2015. The user has requested enhancement of the downloaded file. SEE PROFILE View publication stats
See discussions, stats, and author profiles for this publication at: Materialism: Trait Aspects of Living in the Material World Article in Journal of Consumer Research · December 1985 DOI: 10.1086/208515 · Source: RePEc CITATIONS READS 1,131 10,300 1 author: Russell Belk York University 146 PUBLICATIONS 17,996 CITATIONS SEE PROFILE All content following this page was uploaded by Russell Belk on 29 May 2014. The user has requested enhancement of the downloaded file. Materialism: Trait Aspects of Living in the Material World RUSSELL W. BELK' The relevance of materialism to consumer behavior is discussed. Materialism is advKiced as a critical but neglected macro consumer-b^avror issue. Measures for materialism and three subtraits—envy, nongenerosity, and possessiveness—are presented and tested. The subtreats are cOT[^p«red over ttiree generations of corvsumers from the same families, and measure validity is ft^ther explored via responses to a sentence completion task. Based on these results, a call is made for research into related macro consumer-behavior issues. R ecent historical analyses have variously concluded that contemporary patterns of happiness-seeking via consumption first emerged in the West in fifteenth and sixteenth century Europe (Braudel 1973; Mukerji 1983), eighteenth century England (McKendrick, Brewer, and Plumb 1982), nineteenth century France (Williams 1981), or nineteenth and twentieth century America (Boorstin 1973; Harris 1981;Lears 1983). Although historians may disagree on the date and place of modern consumption's emergence, they agree that it has achieved an elevated and revered place in industrial and post-industrial life. Such a consumption-based orientation is commonly labeled materialism. Belk defines materialism as (1984b, p. 291): The importance a consumer attaches to worldly possessions. At the highest levels of materialism, such possessions assume a central place in a person's life and are believed to provide the greatest sources of satisfaction and dissatisfaction. However, McKendrick, Brewer, and Plumb (1982) have noted that it is not true that acquisitive desires have only emerged in the last few hundred years. Such desires can easily be traced at least as far back as ancient civilizations, as can isolated pockets of conspicuous consumption (Rigby and Rigby 1949). But as Mason (1981) argued, it has only been within the last few hundred years that the chance to seek psychological well-being via discretionary consumption has come within reach ofthe masses. Historical and cultural differences in this tendency undoubtedly exist (Belk 1984a). For instance, given Americans' high incomes and relatively low taxes, their reputation as materialists is probably based on more than a grain of truth (e.g., Arensberg and Niehoff 1975; Cleaver 1976; DuBois 1955; James 1877). Nevertheless, materialism is hardly the sole province of Americans. For instance, in comparisons of material themes in Japanese and U.S. magazine advertising, Japanese ads were found to be equally as materialistic as U.S. ads over the past 30 years (Belk and Pollay forthcoming). In addition, recent Japanese ads were much more likely to emphasize status symbolism, even when they were compared to U.S. ads produced during the 1920s and 1930s—the period when status emphasis in U.S. advertising was strongest (Belk and Pollay 1985a, 1985b). The increase in materialism in Japan has been noted by the Japanese and has been the subject of much criticism (e.g.. Burton 1985; Fukutake 1974, 1982; Guerin 1981; Kikusawa 1979). Just as in the U.S., rising real incomes and an abundance of consumer goods have made materialism possible. Possible, however, need not mean inevitable. Indeed, Inglehart (1981) contends that affluent societies emphasize increasingly less materialistic goals as they satisfy such lower order needs and move on to more abstract, less materialistic goals. However, the evidence in favor of this hypothesis is equivocal (Flanagan 1979; Marsh 1975), and Inglehart's measures do not include materialism as it is defined here. Obviously, besides cultural and historical differences in the tendency toward materialism, there are also individual differences in the manifestations of materialism. For instance, there is a considerable range between the consumption practices of an ascetic Buddhist monk (Arbesmann 1967) and the acquisitive and prodigal consumption of J.P. Morgan (Sinclair 1981). The religious versus secular comparison used here is particularly appropriate, since all major religions have long criticized excessive materialism as being incompatible with religious fulfillment (Belk 1983). But materialism has many secular critics also, whose arguments are based on the alleged antipathy of materialism to both *Russell W. Belk is Professor of Marketing, Graduate School of Business, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT 84112. 265 © JOURNAL OF tX)NSUMER RESEARCH • Vol. 12 • December 1985 266 personal and societal well-being (Belk 1983). In light of these criticisms and the momentous and much heralded rise of materialism over the past few centuries, it is amazing thai this trait has received so little research attention, especially within the discipline of consumer research, to which it has arguably given birth. Issues Involving Materialism Ultimately, the rationale for studying differences in materialism is that the resulting knowledge and measurement may be useful for examining the human and social impact of this much neglected aspect of consumer behavior. Although this article will stop short of addressing the issue of materialism's social impact, it is intended as a preliminary step in the eventual solution of these fundamental questions. One of the foremost issues involving materialism that needs to be addressed is whether materialism is a positive or a negative trait. Arguments claiming that it is a negative trait have been advanced most frequently, but Csikszentmihalyi and Rochberg-Halton (1978, 1981) hypothesize that materialism is not necessarily either good or bad. For instance, if the opposite of materialism is asceticism, D'Arcy (1967), Masson (1976), and Belk (forthcoming a) point to the psychopathologies of masochism, self-hatred, anorexia nervosa, and other self-destructive urges that may underlie the willful selfdenial of material sources of satisfaction. On the other hand, the materialistic traits of greed, miserliness, and envy can also be pathological and can lead to human misery rather than happiness. Belk (1984b), for instance, found significant negative correlations between measures of envy, nongenerosity, and possessiveness and measures of satisfaction and happiness in life. However, as subsequent discussion will illustrate, there may also be positive aspects to such materialistic traits. A second major issue involving materialism that is of relevance to consumer research is whether marketing creates materialism or exacerbates it. This question must also be resolved by future research, but there is some evidence for the claim that the use of materialistic appeals in U.S. advertising has increased during this century. Belk and Pollay (1985a) found a rise in the relative use of luxury and pleasure appeals in U.S. magazine advertising over the past 80 years. While it is not possible to take this rise as evidence that marketing causes increases in materialism, it is impossible to deny that it supports and reinforces this trait. A third issue involving materialism is whether materialism is an essentially egoistic trait that opposes altruism and other such prosocial behaviors as sharing. Yankelovich (1981) has concluded that the search for personal identity through consumption has led American consumers away from each other by emphasizing egoism at the expense of the altruism that has traditionally bonded them together. However, Waterman THE JOURNAL OF CONSUMER RESEARCH (1981) has argued that altruism and egoism are not antithetical, and indeed, that apparently altruistic behaviors are really egoisticaUy motivated. Waterman's argument echoes sociobiology's notion of reciprocal altruism, which contends that individuals commit apparently altruistic acts for only one reason: such acts will increase the likelihood that others will help them when they are in need (Trivers 1971). Daun (1983) offers a more clearly prosocial view of consumption when he suggests that a family's pursuit of consumption may be one of the few remaining goals that unite the family and give it a sense of purpose. Hacker (1967) suggests that materialism substitutes for a lost sense of community. And Boorstin (1973) argues more broadly that pursuing the same brands, styles, and consumption goals provides contemporary society with a sense of community that would otherwise be lacking. These arguments do not deny that materialism is egoistic, but they do question assumptions that it is selfish and opposed to societal goals. A fourth major issue involving materialism is its impact on interpersonal relationships. It has been pointed out that in raising children, we tend to elicit desired behaviors by giving, withholding, and withdrawing such material rewards as food, toys, and other gifts that adults give to children (Whiting 1960). Using these consumption items as rewards may encourage materialistic motivations. Isaacs (1935) has suggested that the use of such behavioral modifiers or reinforcers is coercive and symbolizes the giving or withholding of love. The general practice of giving Christmas gifts to children has been attacked for similar reasons (Meerloo 1960; Sereno 1951). However, the more common hypothesis about gift-giving is that it conveys positive symbolic meanings (e.g., Beik 1976, 1979; Lowes, Turner, and Wills 1971; Schwartz 1967). Related to the issue of using consumption items as rewards is the question of whether giving material goods is an adequate substitute for more direct interpersonal expressions of love. Foa and Foa (1974) hypothesize that money—and to a somewhat lesser degree goods and information—are generally inadequate compensation for the receipt of love. Studies of the perceived appropriateness of various exchanges have supported this hypothesis (Beach and Carter 1976; Brinberg and Castell 1982; Brinberg and Wood 1983; Turner, Foa, and Foa 1971; Webley, Lea, and Porrtalska 1983). Afinalissue involving materialism is whether it contributes to the enhancement and maintenance of a positive self-identity. The contention that possessions are regarded as an integral part of self-identity can be traced to James (1890), although Belk (1984a) suggests that what one does was once a stronger determinant of selfimage, and that what one has became a stronger part of self-image as individuals moved to larger and more anonymous societies with multiple role identities. Support for the role of possessions in self-identity can be MATERIALISM found in studies by Prelinger (1959) and Dixon and Street (1975), where adults and children described the extent to which various things (e.g., hands, sweat, furniture. Statue of Liberty) were seen as a part of self. Only body parts, internal bodily processes, and personal traits were seen as more representative of self than were personal possessions. It is not clear, however, how this finding would be replicated among more as opposed to less possessive individuals. In studies of treasured possessions, Csikszentmihalyi and Rochberg-Halton (1981) found that possessions were highly treasured by some individuals but not by others. There is also evidence to show that possessions have a therapeutic value for the elderly (Sherman and Newman 1977-1978) and mentally ill (Carroll 1968; Morgan and Cushing 1966). Also, various transition objects including security blankets seem to bolster self-confidence among infants when they are separated from their mothers (Furby and Wilke 1982; Halonen and Passman 1978; Passman 1976; Passman and Adams 1982; Passman and Halonen 1979; Passman and Longeway 1982; Passman and Weinberg 1975; Weisberg and Russell 1971). There is also evidence showing that depending upon our mood, we are more iikely than not to either reward ourselves with material goods, or give them to others either to penalize ourselves, to spread joy, or because a more secure self requires fewer security objects (Berkowitz and Conner 1966; Mischei, Coates, and Raskoff 1968; Moore, Clyburn, and Underwood 1976; Moore, Underwood, and Rosenhan 1972; Underwood, Moore, and Rosenhan 1973). It is unclear whether buying things for oneself and others acts successfully in the service of self-esteem; it is also unclear whether mood effects on consumption would be similar for those who are more (versus less) materialistic. Specific Materialistic Traits and Their Measurement Previous attempts to measure materialism have been limited or tangential. Yamauchi and Templer (1982) developed five scales to measure attitudes toward money, but the scale measure that is most applicable to the definition of materialism cited earlier only involves the use of money to impress others; thus, it relates only indirectly to the present conceptualization of materialism. Tashchian, Slama, and Tashchian (1984) developed a scale to measure belief in material growth that has some relevant items, but this scale also includes items related to materialism in society and to energyconservation behaviors. Campbell (1969) developed a materialism scale, but it is more accurately a scale of attitudes toward materialism in society and it remains untested. Finally, Moschis and Churchill (1978) presented a materialism scale that includes attitudes toward money as well as attitudes toward possessions. 267 The present research chose to use three materialism scales developed by Belk (1984b) to measure possessiveness, nongenerosity, and envy. However, unlike Belk (1984b), the present research also examines the overall materialism scale that results when items from the three subscales are combined. Because the items were developed to measure three constructs that probably do not exhaust the domain of materialistic traits,' and because the present article will also report results for these three subscales, it is useful to discuss the subscale constructs first. Possessiveness. Possessiveness has been defined as "the inclination and tendency to retain control or ownership of one's possessions" (Belk 1983). Possessions are seen as (Belk 1982): Reasonably tangible, but may include certain experiences (e.g., iast year's vacation—'I've been there/done that'), tangible assets (including money, contracts, monetary obligations and interests, and land), and even other persons (where some identification with and mastery or control over these persons exists—e.g., 'my employee/ fdend/child/Iegislator'). Belk's 1982 conceptualization of possessiveness distinguished between acquisitiveness and possessiveness by determining whether an individual's relationship with objects is pre- or post-acquisition. This distinction corresponds to Freudian theory, which links acquisitiveness to oral frustration during nursing and links possessiveness to anal frustration during toilet training (Freud 1959a, 1959b). Nevertheless, during scale development Belk (1984b) was unable to support the pre-/post-acquisition distinction, and factor structures suggested that a single factor more strongly represented possessiveness. The conceptual domain of possessiveness should include a concern about loss of possessions (Belk 1984b), a desire for the greater control of ownership rather than the lesser control of rental, borrowing, or leasing (Berry and Maricle 1973; Marshall 1935), and an inclination to save and retain possessions. Since experiences are considered to be potential possessions, there should also be a tendency to make experiences tangible via souvenirs, photographs, and other mementos that can be demonstrably possessed (Greenwood 1977; Kelly 1982, forthcoming; MacCannell I976;Milgram 1976; Nicosia and Mayer 1976; Sontag 1973). Since the desire to control one's environment appears to be relatively strong in Western societies (White 1959), possessiveness may be a culturally approved trait. For this research, pos~ 'Because possessiveness and envy, respectively, represent altitudes toward one's own and toward others' possessions, Holbrook (1984) suggests that nongenerosity may aiso have a counterpart in attitudes toward receiving possessions from others. This latter possibiiity represents a potential aspect of materialism that is not considered in the present research. THE JOURNAL OF CONSUMER RESEARCH sessiveness was conceptualized in value-free terms (as were the other traits measured) and, potentially, could be positively or negatively related to human satisfaction. Nongenerosity. Belk (1984b) defines nongenerosity as "an unwillingness to give possessions to or share possessions with others." While some (Coblentz 1963; Meagher 1967) have suggested that nongenerosity and possessiveness are both a part of avariciousness, in the present case, Belk's scale development suggested that nongenerosity and possessiveness are two distinct traits. The independence of these traits is also suggested by Furby's (1982) finding that children are more likely to be generous in sharing toys if they also show possessiveness by resisting the attempts of others to take toys that have not been freely offered. This conclusion suggests a potentially negative relation between nongenerosity and possessiveness. Belk {1984b) considered that the conceptual domain for nongenerosity included an unwillingness to share possessions with others, a reluctance to lend or donate possessions to others, and negative attitudes toward charity. The traits of conservatism and belief in the Protestant work ethic have also been found to be related to a lack of charitable attitudes toward the poor (e.g.. Feather 1984; Furham 1984; MacDonald 1972). While this similarity might suggest that nongenerosity is merely based on egoistic self-interest (Hogan 1975), other evidence suggests that generosity is most likely among those who have come to accept themselves as worthy to give and receive (Neisser 1973; Silber 1969). This eould help to explain the negative correlation found by Belk (1984b) between nongenerosity and happiness. However, even generosity can become dysfunctional and pathological (Lewinsky 1951). Envy. Envy has been defined by Schoeck (1966) as "displeasure and ill will at the superiority of [another person] in happiness, success, reputation, or the possession of anything desirable." Although the terms are often used interchangeably, envy should also be distinguished from jealousy. Envy is likely to focus on another's possessions, while jealousy focuses on one's own possessions (Schoeck 1966; Walcot 1978). When one's mate is regarded as one's sexual property, the trait of sexual jealousy results (Davis 1949). More generally, jealousy applied to possessions is possessiveness in the present terminology. Thus, the domain for the envy construct involves a desire for others' possessions, be they objects, experiences, or persons. Also, the envious person resents those who own the desired possessions (Belk 1984b) and feels personally demeaned by this fact of ownership, especially if these others are seen by the envious person as less worthy ofthe objects (Schoeck 1966). While envy has sometimes been treated as a beneficial trait that motivates striving to acquire the desired object (Foster 1972; Lyman 1978; Sabini and Silver 1982; Schalin 1979; Smith and Whitfield 1983), it has traditionally been viewed as a destructive trait that motivates, at the extreme, vandalism, murder, arson, theft, and adultery (Bakker and Bakker-Rabdau 1973; Daniels 1964; Joffe 1969). Such potential negative consequences of envy are neither anticipated in nor precluded by the present conceptualization ofthe construct's domain. MATERIALISM OVER THE LIFE SPAN Csikszentmihalyi and Rochberg-Halton (1981) called attention to the fact that there may be important differences in materialism that occur during the life span ofthe individual. They found that when three generations of a family's members were asked to name their favorite possessions and explain the significance ofthe designated items, both the possessions named and the rationales offered differed systematically between generations. The youngest (teenaged) generation was most likely to name products, such as stereo equipment, that allowed them to do things. The middle generation pointed to a variety of objects from furniture to trophies that reminded them of accomplishments and shared experiences. And the oldest generation most revered photograph albums and other memorabilia cues. Based on these findings, the present study also gathered data from three generations of a given family's members in order to compare levels of materialism and related attitudes. There is a variety of more theoretical bases on which the expectation of generational differences in materialism might be predicated. For instance, during infancy, effeetance motivation is hypothesized to be a strong force causing the child to attempt to demonstrate competence by controlling the environment (Furby 1978; Swayze 1980; White 1959). Gaining control of objects and making them possessions is a key way of accomplishing this. Similarly, Freud (1959b) believed that there is a natural state of primary narcissism among infants that must be outgrown. In order to receive more of what is wanted when it is wanted, Furby (1978) suggests that the infant attempts to overcome dependence on others by actively acquiring possessions. Therefore, it might be expected that as infants become more secure about their abilities to acquire desired possessions, the strength of desire for these possessions would decline (Cameron 1977). Indeed, there are numerous studies of children's wishes that indicate that interest in money and material possessions declines with age (Boynton 1936;Cobb 1971;Hon-ocksandMussman 1973;Jersild, Market, and Jersild 1933; Jersild and Tasch 1949; Katz 1964; Speers 1939; Wilson 1938; Winker 1949). As children mature they also become more capable of abstraction and empathy with others (Ausubel 1958; Donaldson l978;Piaget 1928). Effects of this maturity on certain aspects of materialism are shown in a study MATERIALISM by Burris (1983). Burris asked children why it is wrong to steal and received answers that varied according to the age and grade level ofthe child answering. Preschool children's answers tended to be punishment oriented; for example, a 4-year-old responded, "because mommy will get mad at us." By grade school, children could empathize with others. Thus, an 8-year-old answered that stealing is wrong because "it would make [the victim] feel bad." By the end of grade school, children were able to utilize the abstract principle of equity. As a 12-year-oId explained, "my brother's bicycle got stolen. . . . He worked for the money and paid for it . . . and someone got it. But he got it for free, and that's really not fair." Although concepts of equity might make for greater feelings of possessiveness toward earned possessions, the ability to empathize with othei^, coupled with socialization pressures that favor sharing, should produce an increasing willingness to share with others as a child matures. Several studies support this expectation, finding less selfish retention of possessions as children grow into adolescence (Emler and Rushton 1974; Handlon and Gross 1959; McNeal 1979; Moessinger 1975; Shure 1968). Coupled with the findings of decreasing materialism in older children's wishes, such findings would suggest decreasing materialism throughout childhood. It has been pointed out, however, that adults may be giving children dual messages about materialism by encouraging nonselfish sharing on one hand and attentive care of one's possessions on the other (Foshay, Wann, and Associates 1954). Such dual messages suggest that parents may discourage nongenerosity but encourage possessiveness. Perhaps parental modeling sends the same conflicting messages, since, in a study involving small appliances. Burke, Conn, and Lutz (1978) found no relationship between care of possessions and the manner of their disposition (including giving them away). As children enter adolescence, their concern with identity increases; this development is characterized by Erikson (1959) as the identity crisis. Their prior tendency to define self through an identification with things—e.g., possessions, name, hometown, tends to shift to an identity-seeking through activities—e.g., athletics, artistic endeavors, and other skill activities (Brown and O'Leary 1971; Hyman 1942; Montemayor and Bisen 1977; Myers 1985). Perhaps because one's best life accomplishments seem to lie ahead, attention is future directed (Cameron 1977). The possessions that are important during adolescence tend to be those items that give a sense of independence or that aid accomphshment, such as automobiles (Weiland 1955), motorcycles (Stone 1966), or musical instruments (Csikszentmihalyi and Rochberg-Halton 1981). Upon entering adulthood, several changes that affect individuals' attitudes toward possessions may take place. Wernimont and Fitzpatrick (1972) found that 269 while young adults regarded money as a moral evil, slightly older adults who had joined the work force saw money more as a means to comfort and security. Cameron (1977) conducted a number of studies suggesting that parenthood is a key life-span event that causes the adult to shift from an egoistic concern with self to an altruistic concern with children. Marriage may be another such event. Olson (1981, 1985) found that cohabiting couples tended to keep their possessions and assets separate and had few objects that symbolized their life together. This tendency was reversed among young married couples who were similar in age to the cohabiting couples, which suggests that an altruistic shift towards considering another may take place at marriage. These findings, as well as those of Wallendorf (1984), are consistent with Cameron's (1977) findings that the needs for family, happiness, friendship, love, and security are generally perceived to peak during middle age. While not all adults seek happiness through possessions, Furby (1978) found that when individuals of different age groups were asked why people owned things, people in the 40- to 50-year-old age group were the most likely to cite the power and status that objects may be able to convey. As people age, there is evidence to suggest that their thoughts about the future tend to decrease and their thoughts about the past tend to increase (Cameron 1977). Whereas major accomplishments and relationships lie in the future for adolescents, they lie in the past for older adults. This may explain why Olson (1981) found that the artifacts contained in the homes of young adults tended to reflect future plans and goals, while the artifacts of older married couples tended to reflect their shared past experiences. While keepsakes and mementos may mean little to youth, they seem dearly treasured by many older people, both in the form of possessions (Sherman and Newman 1977-1978) and special places (Howeil 1983; Lowenthal 1975). In addition, Feibleman (1975) notes the tendency among people in later middle age to live vicariously through their children and grandchildren. Indeed, Belk (forthcoming b) found that the most frequently cited wish "to make me happy" among the oldest ofthe three related generations (although tied with good health) was success for their children. This finding also suggests a decline in egoistic materialism as age increases. In light of this evidence about changes in materialistic traits over the life-span, it was expected that overall materialism would be highest in the middle generation ofthe three generations that were studied. Adolescents should vaiue activities more than things, and older persons should be less egoistic, since their materialism is mostly focused on symbolic reminders ofthe past. For similar reasons, the middle generation was also expected to score highest on the three subscales (i.e., possessiveness, nongenerosity, and envy). Although the middle generation might be expected to be higher in generosity 270 THE JOURNAL OF CONSUMER RESEARCH EXHIBIT 1 TABLE 1 MATERIALISM SCALE ITEMS BY SUBSCALE MATERIALISM AND SUBSCALE INTERCORRELATIONS Possessiveness subsc^e 1. Renting or leasing a car is more appealing to me than owning one* 2. \ tend to hang on to ttiings I should probably throw out 3. I get very upset if something is stolen from me, even if it has little monetary value 4. I don't get particularly upset when I lose things* 5. I am less likely than most people to lock things up* 6. I would rather buy something 1 need than borrow it from someone else 7. I worry about people taking my possessions 8. When ! travel I like to t ^ e a lot of photographs 9. I never discard old pictures or snapshots Nongenwosity subscate 1. 2. 3. 4. I enjoy having guests stay in my home' I enjoy sharing what I have* I don't like to lend things, even to good friends It makes sense to buy a lawnmower with a neighbor and share it" 5. 1 don't mind giving rides to those who don't have a car* 6. I don't like to have anyone in my home when I'm not there 7- I enjoy donating things to charities* Envy subscale 1. I am bothered when I see people who buy anything they want 2. I don't know anyone whose spouse or steady date t would like to have as my own* 3. When friends do better than me in competition it usually makes me happy for them* 4. People who are very wealthy often feel they are too good to average people 5. There are certain people I would like to trade places with 6. When friends have things I cannot afford it txjthers me 7. 1 don't seem to get what is coming to me 8. When Hollywood stars or prominent politicians have things stolen from them I really feel sorry for them* NOTE; ' - reverse scored. within the family than would the first generation (Caplow 1984a, 1984b), the focus of the nongenerosity items is largely outside the household, so the prediction remains. METHODS AND RESULTS Two separate studies were conducted for the present research. The first reanalyzed Belk's (1984b) data in order to establish the reliability and validity of an overall materialism scale based on items from the possessiveness, nongenerosity, and envy subscales. The second study used three generations of members from within the same families in order to test the hypotheses of generational differences just reviewed and to further examine the validity of all four scales. Trait POSS NONG ENVY MATL Possessiveness (POSS) Nongenerosity (NONG) Envy (ENVY) Materialism (MATL)'' .87' .25 .35 .35 .64' 30 .41 .70 ,48 .68' • Test-retesl reliability lor smaB sample (n - 48); all otf>er correlations from largo sample (n ^ 338): aU correlation coefficienis Significant at alpha - 0.05. ' Excludes items from subsc^e with wt^dx correlation coefficient is reported. Study 1 The 24 items employed by Belk (1984b) are shown in Exhibit I, grouped under the three subscales that they were designed to measure. The items were administered to 338 subjects from five subject pools and used five-point Likert (agree/disagree) scales (see Belk ! 984b for further details). Two-thirds of the overall sample was male. An additional sample of 48 business students completed the questionnaire twice (with a two-week interval) in order to provide data for measuring test-retest reliability. Business students Secretaries in an insurance office Students at a religious institute Fraternity members Maehine shop workers Total 213 39 32 27 27 338 The last four groups were included to allow an assessment of criterion validity among known groups. The machine shop workers were expected to rank highest in materialism, since blue collar workers show the strongest tendency to engage in "compensatory consumption" (Best and Connolly 1976; Chinoy 1952, 1955; Gorz 1967). Such materialism is thought to emerge among individuals whose occupational status mobility is blocked by prejudice or lack of skills, and involves substituting possessions for job success. The group of students from the religious institute was expected to rank lowest in materialism, since organized religion is generally opposed to materialistic attitudes and practices (Belk 1983). The other groups were expected to score in the intermediate range of materialism scales. This parallels Belk's (1984b)findingsfor the three subscales, except that he found that the secretary group (the only all-female group in the study) was lower in envy than was the fraternity group (the only all-male group in the study). 271 MATERIALISM TABLE 2 TABLE 3 MEAN MATERIALISM SCORES BY GROUP MATERIALISM AND SUBSCALE MEANS BY GENERATION Group Mean score' n Scale Youngest Middle Oldest generatiCHi generaticm generation (M) (Y) (0) Machine shop workers Religious institute students Business students Insurance secretaries Fraternity members 74.1 70.6 73.8 73.8 72.8 27 32 213 39 27 Materialism Possessiveness Nongenerosity Envy Overall 73.4" 338 NOTE: alpha ^ 0.05 via Schetfe's test. * The oiiteiion groups oi machine shop workers and religious institute students differ in mean scores at p < 0.001 t.Mest); all groups dHler at p < 0,002 F-test). " Range ^ 36-100 of a posstt)le 24-120: standard deviation = 12.54, For this study materialism was measured as the sum of the 24 items from the envy, possessiveness, and nongenerosity scales, with reverse scoring as indicated in Exhibit I. The larger sample produced Cronbach coefficient alphas of 0.66, while the smaller sample produced alphas of 0.73 on the first administration. Both are acceptably high for exploratory purposes and approximate the magnitude of the alphas for the three 1984 subscales (Belk 1984b). The 48-student sample produced a testretest reliability of 0.68, which is both acceptable and on a par with Belk's subscale test-retest reliabilities (1984b). Table 1 shows the correlations among the subscales and between each subscale and the overall materialism score that resulted when items from that subscale were deleted. While the small number of subscales made the higher-order factor analysis somewhat redundant, it also suggested that possessiveness, nongenerosity, and envy are indeed subscales of overall materialism. The three oblique first-order factors reproduced the three subscales and produced a single second-order factor with an eigenvalue greater than one, accounting for just over 75 percent of shared variance. Belk (1984b) offered evidence of subscale validity based on a multitrait-multimethod matrix and on criterion validity among known groups. Because of problems with the alternate methods of behavioral and photographic indices (discussed by Belk 1984b and evinced by the low coefficient alphas produced when the subscale items were summed for these methods), only the criterion group comparisons were examined for the overall materialism scale. These results are shown in Table 2. The expectation that the blue collar and religious institute groups would have the highest and lowest materialism scores was clearly supported, although the magnitude of difference was not great. A test for sex differences in materialism scores was nonsignificant at an alpha of 0.10. The newly constructed materialism scores were also correlated with the measures of wellbeing employed by Belk (1984b). A correlation of-0.26 was obtained with the Gurin, Veroff, and Feld (i960) 73.5 33.0 19.4 22.1 75.9 32.8 20.5 22.3 70.9 30.6 18.3 18.0 Significant confi-asts YO, YO, YO. YO, MO, YM MO MO, YM MO measure of happiness, and a correlation of -0.24 was found with the Bradbum and Caplovitz (1965) measure of satisfaction in life. Both coefficients were significant at an alpha of 0.00! (n = 338) and indicate that more materialistic people tend to be less happy in hfe. Study 2 In order to examine the hypothesized generational differences in materialism and to further investigate the validity of the materialism scale and subscales, a convenience sample of three-generation families residing in Salt Lake City, Utah was obtained through the use of student recruiters who dropped off and picked up questionnaires. Subject-selection criteria required that one person be selected from each family to represent each of three generations: 1. Youngest: 13 years or older, unmarried, without children, and living with parents 2. Middle: married, with children living in the household, and without grandchildren 3. Oldest: grandparent When more than one person in a selected family met the criteria for a generation, a subject was selected based on a series of systematic tables keyed to the number of persons of each sex in the family and their birth order. This procedure produced complete data for 33 families and yielded a sample of 99 persons. The youngest generation's age range was 13 to 26, with a mean age of 21.1; the middle generation's age range was 31 to 58, with a mean age of 40.3; and the oldest generation's age range was 55 to 92, with a mean age of 68.3. Females comprised 42.2 percent of the youngest generation, 54.5 percent of the middle generation, and 60.6 percent of the oldest generation. Only 18.2 percent of the youngest generation was employed full time, while 69.7 percent of the middle generation and 24.2 percent of the oldest generation were employed full time. The materialism and subscale mean scores for the three generations are shown in Table 3. As hypothesized, the middle generation tended to score highest in both the overall scale and the subscales. However, these THE JOURNAL OF CONSUMER RESEARCH 272 scores were not significantly higher than those for the youngest generation on two ofthe three subscales, and again, the magnitudes of difference are somewhat small. Nevertheless, it generally appears that materialism and specific materialistic traits are weakest among the oldest generation. But the predicted crescendo from the youngest to the middle generation is only partially evident. Several life-span developmental explanations for these patterns were suggested earlier, but given the crosssectional nature of this study, it is impossible to rule out events and values that are peculiar to each generation. For instance, it is possible that experience ofthe Great Depression had a lasting effect: reducing materialism in the oldest generation. However, there were no significant within-generation correlations between age and the four scales. This absence reduces the likelihood of the alternate explanations. in order to further explore the validity and effects of materialism and the three subscales, data from the three generations were combined so that the responses to a series of sentence completions concerning purchase and consumption experiences could be examined. Given the open-ended nature of this task, there were no a priori hypotheses, but it was believed that the responses would differ according to the materialistic traits ofthe respondent. The sentence fragments used are shown in Exhibit 2. They were intended to elicit responses to giving and receiving (A, F, I, L, O), spending and acquiring (C, D, G, H), saving and consuming (B, E, J, P), and states likely to precipitate such behaviors (K, M, N, Q). The sentence-completion task was performed first, followed by the materialism scales and demographic questions. After data collection, a sample of sentence completion responses was examined in order to develop coding categories. Coding instructions were prepared for three student judges, who were trained by coding a sample set of responses with iterations in order to correct any deviations from the codes these responses were designed to elicit. Intcr-judge reliability for subsequent coding averaged 0.92 (proportion agreement). Disagreements were resolved by majority rule, with one percent of codes requiring researcher tie-breaking. Tables 4 through 7 show the major response categories for each question and the proportion of these responses that were given by the half of the sample scoring highest on materialism and materialism subscales. For instance, in Table 4, 65 percent ofthe 20 people who said that they buy things for themselves when they are in a good or a bad mood were in the half (48.5 percent) ofthe sample that scored above the median on the nongenerosity subscale. Table 4 shows that while materialistic people approve of spending over $15,000 on a car and are most inclined to suggest that owning a house with a yard is good and represents the American dream, such people look less favorably on eating in a nice restaurant. Even though more than half of the sample felt that eating in such a restaurant was enjoyable or fun, the subjects who gave this response EXHIBIT 2 STIMULUS SENTENCE FRAGMENTS A. B. C. D. E. F. G. H. I. J. K. LM, N. Christmas is a time wtien . . . The way I most like to spend a vacation . . . I am most likely to txjy myself scHtiething wrtien . . . Eating at a nice restaurant. , . Peof^e who start an Individual Retirement Account. . . Giving money to help the poor. . . Someone Vkfho spends more than $15,000 on a car. . . Owning a house with a yard . , . Wien children get birthday presents from their parents . . . Building a ccrilection of Something . . . When t feel reaUy good about myself, I'm likely to . . . On Mother's Day . . . HI was given $100 unexpectedly . . . When t don't feel parficularly good about myself, I'm likely to. . . O. If you try to help other people . . . P. When it comes to hanging on to things or throwing tfiem out. . . O. The one thing that would make me happiest at this point in my life. . . also tended to be less materialistic. Inasmuch as eating out is a nonlasting and nonmaterial pleasure, while houses and cars are lasting and material, these responses are consistent with the concept of materialism. And these patterns are generally reflected in the subscale means as well. In addition, the nongenerosity means suggest that those who are high in this trait are also most likely to indulge in purchases for themselves on impulse or when they are in aa especially good or bad mood. This apparent attempt to use the acquisition of material goods to buoy self-image also seems notably materialistic. Table 5 shows mean materialism and subscale scores for those subjects who gave the most frequent saving and consuming item responses. It is evident from Table 5's data that more materialistic people tend to view IRAs as typical of wealthy people and those who plan ahead. This opinion is also generally held by high scorers on the materialism subscales. Similarly, more materialistic people suggested that they were more likely to hang onto things rather than throw them out. Inasmuch as there is an item to this effect in the possessiveness subscale, such a response pattern may not be as meaningful for this subscale as it is for the nongenerosity subscale. Nongenerous, envious, and possessive people were also most likely to have positive responses about collecting things. And possessive people were most likely to associate vacations with travel and sightseeing, which together with taking snapshots and gathering souvenirs are activities associated with acquiring experiences and making them tangible. Table 6 reports materialism scores associated with the most frequent responses to items about giving and receiving. It is useful to bear in mind in examining the Mother's Day responses that the oldest generation scored lowest in each of the materialism scores. This 273 MATERIALISM TABLE 4 SPENDING AND ACQUIRING RESPONSES AND PERCENT WHO ARE HIGH SCORERS' Item and Respcxise C. Buy for self 1, Have $ to spend 2. When 1 need it 3. Fe^ good/bad or on impulse Materialism Possessiveness Non-cienerosity Envy 46.3° 48.2 48.7 63.0 46.3 44.4 46,8 44.4 41 27 50.0 55.0 65.0 40.0 20 36.4 71.4 50.0 49.2 53.6 87.5 55 28 16 • * * Significant" 0. Eat at nice restaurant 1. Enjoyable/fun 2. Spedal treat 3. Expensive Significant" G. $15,000+car 1, Wealthy 2. Negative {status-seeking, foolish) 3. Positive (lucky, likes good things) Significant" H. House with yard 1. Good/desirable 2. Involves upkeep 3. American dream Significant'' 38.2 67.9 68.8 56.4 53.6 50.0 • 34,7 36.7 46.9 40.8 49 40.7 29,6 48.1 51.9 27 70.6 64 7 58.8 588 17 * • 51.9 25,0 63.2 46.2 35.7 78.9 51,9 25.0 57,9 38,5 32.1 73.6 52 28 19 t • * * ' Via median splits (or natefiaMsm and BIB throe sutvscale scores. Overall percent who are high scorers: 47,5 percent tor materialisin, 49,5 for possessiveness, 48,5 for nongenerosity, and 48,5 for envy, ' Total number giving each response (of 99). ' AH decimals = ovBraB percent of each n who w«re higti scorers on the column Iralt, * Oiflerences in rsspcxises of high versus low scorers significant via Crt-square test al .s0,05; * = si^iificance. situation would seem to explain why those subjects who responded, "receive gifts" scored significantly lower in materialism and in each ofthe subscales. However, the situation does not seem to explain the other differences found. The fact that more materialistic (and envious) people associate Christmas with shopping reflects these people's greater materialism. The same is true of the less positive associations connected with giving money to the poor displayed by people who scored high in materialism, nongenerosity, and envy. The reciprocal expectations of materialistic and envious respondents are shown by their greater likelihood to associate children's happiness and thanks with the receipt of birthday gifts from their parents. While happiness and thanks are not the purely material exchanges expected in adult gift exchange, they are appropriate responds/rewards to expect from giving gifts to children. Also, materialistic and envious persons are most negative in that they expect that helping others will not be appreciated. Possessive persons prove the only exception to this pattern; they are the individuals most likely to see a form of generalized reciprocity in which such help ultimately benefits the giver in the form of some future good fortune. The balance sheet mentality that would seem to underlie such an expectation is also compatible with the concept of materialism, and the overall scale shows the second highest scores for subjects giving this response. Table 7 shows the final set of responses to items intended to act as precipitating circumstances that could elicit purchase and consumption responses. For instance, stimuli K and N were intended to explore any material ism-based differences in tendencies to reward oneself by buying things when in a good or bad mood, or to share with others when in these moods. While there is less of a tendency for materialistic people to respond with reported sharing or giving behaviors when they are in a good mood, there were not sufficient associations of rewarding self to examine these expected mood effects. However, the fact that this reaction was elicited for stimulus C in Table 4 {especially among those high in nongenerosity) suggests that this effect may occur among materialistic persons, but is not the dominant response to positive or negative mood states. 274 THE JOURNAL OF OONSUMER RESEARCH TABLE 5 SAVfNG AND ACQUIRiNG RESPONSES AND PERCENT WHO ARE HIGH SCORERS' Item and Response B. Vacation 1. Travel/sight-see 2. Relax 3. Physical activity Materialism Possessiveness Non-generosity Envy ri" 58.1 = 50.0 60.0 67.7 33.3 60.0 67.7 54.2 55.0 58.1 45.8 40.0 31 24 20 53.8 21.1 33.3 57.3 39.5 80.0 39 38 15 • Significant'' E. IRA 1. Planning ahead 2. Wise 3. Wealthy 53.8 31.6 66.7 48.7 44.7 40.0 * Significant" J. Collection 1. Good leisure use 2. Fun/satisfying 3. Boring/not for me 52.4 47.6 42.9 66.7 38.1 38.1 69.0 52.4 38.1 52.4 47.6 9.5 • « * 64.7 33.3 44.4 64.7 54.2 27.8 76.5 41.7 38.9 47.1 45.8 50.0 * + * Significant" P. Hang on vs. throw out 1. Hang on 2. Throw out 3. It depends Significant" 42 21 21 51 24 18 * Via median ^ i t s for materialism and the three sub-scale scores. Overall percent wtio are high scorefs: 47.5 percefit lor materiaiism, 49.5 for possesstvensss. 48.5 for noogenerosity, and 48.5 for envy, ' TolaJ nurrtfjor gMng sach response (Of 99). ' M dedmats = overaN peroent of each n who were high scorers on the column bait. ' Difference in responses ot high vs. iow scores sigidflcatit via Chi-square test at £0,05: * = significance- It is noteworthy, though, that the most materialistic persons in this sample gave a more egoistic celebration response to the "good mood" item rather than a more altruistic sharing response. This egoism was also shown in the lesser reported likelihood of materialistic persons to share if they were unexpectedly given $100 and in their greater insistence upon money or financial success (rather than accomplishment or the success of children) to make them happy. Discussion While the internal consistency and test-retest consistency results support the reliability of the combined subscaie item scores to measure the overall construct of materialism for exploratory purposes, the other results support the validity and meaningful ness of the overall scale. The criterion occupational groups and the three generation groups displayed the hypothesized patterns of materialism scores. In addition, the sentence completion task generated responses that were consistent with scores on materialism and the three materialism subscaies. And further evidence was obtained for a negative relationship between materialism and happiness in life. It should be emphasized that the latter finding does not allow one to infer the direction of causality. While it is plausible that materialistic people pursue false sources of happiness, and that therefore such people must be disappointed, it is also possible that those who have for various reasons experienced dissatisfaction in life turn to materiahsm in their effort to find happiness. Since arguments for and against materialism as a source of satisfaction have been suggested, any such causal interpretations must await further research. When the issue of materialism's role in causing unhappiness and dissatisfaction has been more satisfactorily resolved, the issue of marketing's role in fostering materialism will either pale (in the case of a negative causal role for materialism in affecting happiness) or emerge as a key issure. To date, with the exception of Belk and Pollay (forthcoming, 1985a, 1985b), the effect of marketing on materialism and life satisfaction has been addressed only conceptually (e.g., Arndt 1978; Czepiel 1978; Day 1978). Given that there now appears to be a reliable and valid measure of materialism, and given prior reliability and validity evidence for measures of happiness and life satisfaction (e.g., Robinson and Shaver 1969), empirical research into this and related issues linking consumer behavior to the broader sphere 275 MATERIALISM TABLE 6 GIVING AND RECEIVING RESPONSES AND PERCENT WHO ARE HIGH SCORERS' Item and Response A. Christmas 1. Interpersonal relationships 2. Gift exchange 3. Shopping Significant" F. Giving mcKiey to the poor 1. Good/Nice 2. Generous/Unselfish 3. Sometimes good/ Sometimes bad Significant*^ 1. Child birthday gift 1. Makes child happy 2. Child should be thankful 3. Should be something needed Significant" L. Mothers' day 1. Call/Visit momer 2. Buy card/present 3. Receive gifts Significant" O. Help others 1. They dcxi't appreciate 2. The good you do returns to you 3. Makes you feel good Significant" Materialism Possessiveness Nongenwosity Envy 39.3*= 36.8 68.8 48.2 57.9 37.5 46.4 52.6 68.8 39.3 63.2 68.8 • 56 19 16 « 33.3 21.1 51.5 35.3 36.4 31.6 33.3 36.8 33 19 61.1 44.4 72.2 66.7 18 • * 73.2 48.8 43.9 73.2 41 60.0 68.5 62.9 34.3 35 31.5 50.0 31.3 25.0 16 * « 51.5 58.8 17.6 54.5 76.6 17.6 54.5 58.8 17.6 45.5 76.5 29.4 33 17 17 * » + * 61.0 41.5 34.1 65.9 41 48.1 29.4 88.9 17.6 44.4 41.2 55.6 29.7 27 17 • • * ' Via median splits fot materiaMsm and tiw ttireo s u b - s c ^ scores. OvoraH percent who are high scorers: 47.5 percent for matenslisin. 49.5 for possessiveness, 48.S for nongoneroslty. and 48.5 for envy. " Total nomber giving each response (of 89). ° AU dscimEtis ^^ overali percent of each n who were high scorers en the column trail, ' Differences in responses of high versus low scorers significant via Chi-square test at sO.O5: ' - significance. of issues concerning human well-being seems feasible, desirable, and critically significant. To the extent that the materialistic belief that happiness is the next purchase away is found to be false (either because materialistic consumption has no effect on happiness or because it actually causes unhappiness), a broader investigation ofthe effects of marketing will be in order. Not only will marketing's indirect effects on happiness via its effects on materialistic beliefs rise in importance, but its more direct effects on happiness via attaching symbolic meanings to consumption objects will achieve greater significance. In addition, it wili become increasingly important to consider how the pricing, packaging, and advertising of products and services, singly or jointly, affect the consumer belief that the benefits of consumption are the raison d'etre for life, work, and family. In the event that materialistic beliefs are found to be associated positively with happiness (contrary to the present findings), other issues will become relevant. The distribution of goods and services that is likely to bring the most happiness to the people of the world is one such issue. If goods and services are indeed the path to happiness in life, there is also the issue of whether this happiness wanes for a given consumption level, so that ever bigger, newer, or more expensive sources of consumption satisfaction are required to retain a constant level of happiness (Brickman and Campbell 1971). Such an escalating pursuit of larger and more frequent pleasures could also occur if materialism has a negative effect on happiness but consumers fail to discern this relationship and instead attribute dissatisfaction to a less than sufficient fix of material goods. Regardless of the relationship between materialism THE JOURNAL OF CONSUMER RESEARCH 276 TABLE 7 PRECIPITATING CIRCUMSTANCE RESPONSES AND PERCENT WHO ARE HIGH SCORERS" Item and Response Materialism Possessiveness Non-generosity Envy K. When 1 feel good 1 1. Celebrate/be active 2. Share/do things for others 3- Act ioyful(e.g., sing/smile) 69,2= 43.5 20.0 73.1 34.8 30.0 80.8 43-5 45.0 65.4 43.5 25.0 * • * • 50.0 53.8 42.3 57.7 26 75.0 26.7 50,0 40.0 81.3 40.0 56.3 40.0 16 15 50.0 40.0 15.0 32 25 20 Significant" M. Given $100 1 1. Save/invest 2. Buy luxury not otherwise bought 3. Share vt/ith others Significant'' N. When 1 don't feel good 1: 1. Act depressed 2. Try to feel better 3. Withdraw from others * • 43.8 40.0 30.0 53.1 56.0 35.0 37.5 44.0 55,0 * Significant" Q. To make me happy 1 want: 1. Accomplishment/success 2. Health 3. Success for children 4. Money/financial success Significant" 26 23 20 47.8 27-8 23.5 66-7 56.5 38.9 41,2 66.7 47.8 50.0 41-2 46.7 * 43.5 61.1 0.0 73.3 23 18 17 15 * • Via median splits for materialism antJ the three sub-scaie scofas. Overall percent who are high scorers: 47.5 percent fof maierialism. 49.5 for possessiveness. 48.5 for nongenerosity. and 4B 5 for envy. *• Total number giving each response (of 99). ' All decimals = overall percent of eaoti n who were high scorers on the column irait. • DifTerences in re^xmses of l ^ h versus low scorers significant via Chi-square test at ^0.05; * = significanco. and happiness, the role that materialism plays in defining the self is a broader issue still. Since one's identity is abstract, and potentially untenable in the absenee of concrete evidence, and since even interpersonal feedback is arguably a reaction to some outward manifestation of self, two primary evidences of who we are are the things we do and the things we have. Therefore, the relationships between doing and having are also of great concern. There may be certain activities that are only possible when the requisite goods are present (e.g., sailing requires a boat). At the same time, there may be certain activities that are precluded or at least constrained by the possession of things (e.g., a house with an outstanding mortgage and a yard to care for may discourage extensive travel). In light of the present findings for generational and individual differences in materialism, it is also likely that the relative emphasis on having versus doing changes over the lifetime of the individual as wel! as between individuals within lifecycle stages. 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In January 1848, James Marshall found a section of glowing metal on the ground. The
metal bowed out to be gold. In a couple of weeks the rumors about the discovery had blowout,
and now tens of thousands of individuals flooded the area. The area that is present-day
Sacramento proliferated from a city of 79 building to thousands of immigrants. Steve claims that
over the next few years, California had over 300,000 individuals seeking for gold (Steve 2012).
The new miners were harsh on the Native Americans. Indians, who tried to use force to protect
their land, were massacred by the miners. Between 1845 and 1970, the population of native
Americans in California fell from around 15000 to 30000. The savage materialism of the new
immigrants' attitude to the new world (America) relates to the present day materialism. The land
translated to a treasure-house, while the native population was an inconvenient obstacle that
needed eradication.
Although the rampant materialism of the ‘gold miners’ is understandable, present-day
materialism has an adverse correlation with the people involved. The gold diggers’ might have
lived in a period of great pover...

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