Lowering the price(s) of materialism
Henry, Christopher D.
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Materialism is the desire to possess unneeded material goods and the tendency to view happiness and success in life in terms of what one owns. In addition to traditional religious and social criticisms, recent empirical evidence also has suggested that materialism is problematic for both individuals and society. After reviewing research suggesting problematic correlates and consequences of materialism in major areas of psychological well-being, a number of factors influencing the development of materialism are considered, with special consideration given to the role of experiences of insecurity. Then, after identifying an intervention aimed at priming relational security, I present two studies that explore the effects of this procedure. Hypothesizing that increasing relational security can decrease materialism, these studies focus on the effects of priming relational security on endorsement of materialistic values (Study 1) and engagement in materialistic behaviors in a social commons dilemma (Study 2). The general relational security hypothesis received limited support from Study 1, but strong support from Study 2.