Gratitude and the Reduced Costs of Materialism in Adolescents

Abstract

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.

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Fig. 1

Notes

  1. 1.

    The 11 goals were: hedonism, safety, physical health, self-acceptance, affiliation, community feeling, spirituality, conformity, popularity, image, and financial success.

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Correspondence to Jeffrey J. Froh.

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We thank Sheldon Karnilow, Patrick Harrigan, William Sefick, James LoFrese, Chris Alexander, and all of the teachers, parents, and students for their support with data collection. Thanks go to Melissa Ubertini, Pascual Chen, Stephanie Snyder, and Rebecca Spatz for their assistance with data collection. We are grateful to Tim Kasser for his insightful comments on an earlier draft of this manuscript.

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Froh, J.J., Emmons, R.A., Card, N.A. et al. Gratitude and the Reduced Costs of Materialism in Adolescents. J Happiness Stud 12, 289–302 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10902-010-9195-9

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Keywords

  • Gratitude
  • Materialism
  • Well-being
  • Adolescents
  • Self-determination theory