Applied Research in Quality of Life

, Volume 13, Issue 2, pp 273–301 | Cite as

The Psychology of Material Well-Being

  • M. Joseph SirgyEmail author


Material well-being is defined in terms of satisfaction with a range economic concerns such as government’s handling of the economy, taxes, the cost of basic necessities, household income, pay and fringe benefits from one’s job, financial security, standard of living, and agreement within the family regarding how money should be spent. Much evidence is available demonstrating the substantial effect of material well-being on a variety of measures of subjective well-being. The literature review uncovered a host of antecedents or predictors of material well-being. These antecedents involve two sets of constructs, namely personal factors and contextual factors. Personal factors include socio-demographics (age, gender, education, income, marital status, family structure, etc.); personality traits (self-esteem, etc.) and personality dynamics (compensation, top-down spillover, etc.); needs and need satisfaction (how wealth serve to satisfy different needs), beliefs and mental associations (images of wealthy people); goals and aspirations (income goals and goal attainment); skills, behavior, and resources (financial capability, financial behavior, and lack of financial resources); and values (materialism), lifestyle (consumption), and habits (compulsive consumption). Contextual factors include social comparison (how evaluations of standard of living are influenced by social comparisons), adaptation (how income expectations are adapted by changing circumstances), and changes in the macro economic environment (changes in the rate of unemployment, inflation, economic growth, etc.).


Material life Material well-being Financial well-being Satisfaction with standard of living Satisfaction with personal wealth Life satisfaction Quality of life Subjective well-being 


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature and The International Society for Quality-of-Life Studies (ISQOLS) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Pamplin College of Business, Department of MarketingVirginia Polytechnic Institute & State University (Virginia Tech)BlacksburgUSA

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