Research Paper

Journal of Happiness Studies

, Volume 12, Issue 2, pp 289-302

First online:

Gratitude and the Reduced Costs of Materialism in Adolescents

  • Jeffrey J. FrohAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, Hofstra University Email author 
  • , Robert A. EmmonsAffiliated withUniversity of California
  • , Noel A. CardAffiliated withUniversity of Arizona
  • , Giacomo BonoAffiliated withWhittier College
  • , Jennifer A. WilsonAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, Hofstra University

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Materialistic youth seem to be languishing while grateful youth seem to be flourishing. High school students (N = 1,035) completed measures of materialism, gratitude, academic functioning, envy, depression, life satisfaction, social integration, and absorption. Using structural equation modeling, we found that gratitude, controlling for materialism, uniquely predicts all outcomes considered: higher grade point average, life satisfaction, social integration, and absorption, as well as lower envy and depression. In contrast, materialism, controlling for gratitude, uniquely predicts three of the six outcomes: lower grade point average, as well as higher envy and life satisfaction. Furthermore, when examining the relative strengths of gratitude and materialism as predictors, we found that gratitude is generally a stronger predictor of these six outcomes than is materialism.


Gratitude Materialism Well-being Adolescents Self-determination theory