Journal of Happiness Studies

, Volume 17, Issue 6, pp 2277–2292

Materialism, Spending, and Affect: An Event-Sampling Study of Marketplace Behavior and Its Affective Costs

  • Kirk Warren Brown
  • Tim Kasser
  • Richard M. Ryan
  • James Konow
Research Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s10902-015-9694-9

Cite this article as:
Brown, K.W., Kasser, T., Ryan, R.M. et al. J Happiness Stud (2016) 17: 2277. doi:10.1007/s10902-015-9694-9


Research on materialism has burgeoned in the last two decades, yet little is known about how people higher versus lower in this consumer values orientation differ in their day-to-day spending habits and in their emotional reactions to spending on purchases. The present study used an event-sampling method over a 3-week period to address these questions in a community adult sample. Results showed that over the course of the sampling period, high materialists made more discretionary purchases and spent more money on necessity purchases than did those lower in materialism, even though their incomes did not differ. Despite higher levels of spending, high materialists experienced a “letdown” after spending, as they reported more post-purchase unpleasant affect than did low materialists. This result was not moderated by level of dispositional unpleasant affect, purchase type, or purchase amounts.


Materialism Consumer behavior Behavioral economics Well-being Emotional states 

Funding information

Funder NameGrant NumberFunding Note
Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (CA)
    Russell Sage Foundation (US)

      Copyright information

      © Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

      Authors and Affiliations

      • Kirk Warren Brown
        • 1
      • Tim Kasser
        • 2
      • Richard M. Ryan
        • 3
        • 4
      • James Konow
        • 5
        • 6
      1. 1.Department of PsychologyVirginia Commonwealth UniversityRichmondUSA
      2. 2.Department of PsychologyKnox CollegeGalesburgUSA
      3. 3.Institute of Positive Psychology and EducationAustralian Catholic UniversitySydney, NSWAustralia
      4. 4.Department of Clinical and Social Sciences in PsychologyUniversity of RochesterRochesterUSA
      5. 5.Department of EconomicsKiel UniversityKielGermany
      6. 6.Department of EconomicsLoyola Marymount UniversityLos AngelesUSA

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