Does materialism lead to unhappiness? If so, why?

Previous research has established an inverse relationship between materialism and psychological well-being. To test the hypothesis that the link between materialism and well-being is due in part to an individual’s feelings of personal control, a sample of 440 adult Americans completed a widely-used materialism scale, the Levenson (1981) locus of control scales, and measure of positive and negative affect. Mediational analyses indicated that the significant relationship between materialism and negative affect was reduced significantly when powerful others and chance loci of control were each statistically controlled. Results are discussed with respect to the self-defeating cycle of using material possessions to boost affective well-being and in relation to other research that has explored reasons why materialism is related to lower level of psychological well-being.

Source: “Materialism and well-being: The mediating effect of locus of control” from Personality and Individual Differences, Volume 46, Issue 7, May 2009, Pages 682-686

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