Materialism and Loneliness

Here is my final post for 2013; it seems appropriate for post holiday thinking and useful for the new year.
Loneliness may cause materialism, but the opposite is not necessarily true.IMG_0919
“It is widely believed that there is a vicious cycle in which loneliness leads to materialism and materialism in turn contributes to loneliness. But, contrary to popular beliefs about the universal perils of materialism, the pursuit of material possessions as part of a lifestyle of ‘happy hedonism’ may not actually be detrimental to consumer well-being when kept within certain limits,” writes author Rik Pieters  of Tilburg University in a new study to be published in the Journal of Consumer Research. The author studied more than 2,500 consumers over a period of six years and found that loneliness was likely to lead to materialism.  Loneliness increased over time for consumers who valued material possessions as a measure of success or a type of “happiness medicine,” but decreased for those who sought possessions just for the sheer joy and fun of consumption.  Men were more likely to view possessions as a measure of success in life and as a material medicine, whereas women viewed possessions more as a source of “material mirth.
“While materialism can increase loneliness, it may actually reduce loneliness for some consumers. Increasing opportunities for social interaction and improving social skills may be more effective at reducing loneliness than the usual appeals to turn off the television or stop shopping,” the author concludes.
source: Rik Pieters. “Bidirectional Dynamics of Materialism and Loneliness: Not Just a Vicious Cycle.” Journal of Consumer Research: December 2013. For more information, contact Rik Pieters (f.g.m.pieters@uvt.nl) or visit http://ejcr.org
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