Journal of Happiness Studies

, 7:343

Is gratitude an alternative to materialism?


  • Emily L. Polak
    • Department of PsychologyUniversity of Miami
    • Department of PsychologyUniversity of Miami

DOI: 10.1007/s10902-005-3649-5

Cite this article as:
Polak, E.L. & McCullough, M.E. J Happiness Stud (2006) 7: 343. doi:10.1007/s10902-005-3649-5


Materialistic strivings have been implicated as a cause of unhappiness. Gratitude, on the other hand – both in its manifestations as a chronic affective trait and as a more temporary emotional experience – may be a cause of happiness. In the present paper we review the empirical research on the relationships among materialism, gratitude, and well-being. We present new correlational data on the gratitude–materialism relationship and propose that gratitude may have the potential to reduce materialistic strivings and consequently diminish the negative effects of materialistic strivings on psychological well-being. We conclude with some recommendations for future research on the relationships among gratitude, materialism, and well-being.


gratitudehappinessmaterialismpositive psychology
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© Springer 2006