Social Indicators Research

, Volume 141, Issue 2, pp 895–917 | Cite as

Television, Sustainability and Subjective Wellbeing in Peru

  • Monica Guillen-RoyoEmail author


Earlier studies have concluded that television consumption is detrimental to environmental sustainability and people’s subjective wellbeing due to its promotion of consumerism and materialistic goals. However, recent evidence indicates that, in contexts of relative deprivation, television can be a source of wellbeing, a main provider of entertainment and information. This might present a conflict between the wellbeing of present and future generations, and might pose a challenge for sustainable development. This article contributes to the emergent debate on the role of television in sustainable development, by presenting a study of the effects of television viewing in a heterogeneous Peruvian sample (n = 500). Regression analysis results indicate that television consumption is negatively associated with sustainable attitudes, partially through the promotion of goals linked to materialism. The relationship between television consumption and happiness is not significant but becomes marginally positive when materialistic goals are accounted for. This study finds that in countries like Peru, television need not limit the wellbeing of present and future generations if materialistic messages are reduced and the content of environmental programmes is critically revised.


Television Subjective wellbeing Materialism Personal goals Sustainable attitudes Sustainable development 



The comments and suggestions of Jakob Utgård, Tim Kasser and an anonymous reviewer to earlier drafts of this paper are gratefully acknowledged. This work is part of the Happy-ICT project at the University of Oslo supported by the Research Council of Norway, SAMANSVAR programme. Data collection was carried out during a post-doctoral fellowship funded by the Research Council of Norway, Latin America programme.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Technology, Innovation and CultureUniversity of OsloOsloNorway

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