Social Indicators Research

, Volume 124, Issue 1, pp 231–247 | Cite as

Development of Materialism in Adolescence: The Longitudinal Role of Life Satisfaction Among Chinese Youths

  • Lisbeth KuEmail author


The present research tests the longitudinal role of life satisfaction on materialism among Chinese adolescents, and provides empirical evidence to support the theorisation that materialism develops as compensation for dissatisfaction with life. Study 1 establishes that the negative relationship between life satisfaction and materialism is present and similar among the younger (N = 516; M = 12.94 years) and the older adolescents (N = 531; M = 16.57 years). A two-wave survey (Study 2) finds no longitudinal effect of materialism on life satisfaction, but life satisfaction has a negative lagged effect on materialism among the younger adolescents (N = 123; M = 13.81 years). For the older adolescents (N = 106; M = 16.38 years), however, there are cross-lagged effects of materialism on life satisfaction, and vice versa. Age and social economical status (SES) both have important roles in materialism, with the adolescents from lower SES backgrounds in general, and the younger ones in particular, reporting higher levels of materialism than their more well-off counterparts.


Materialism Life satisfaction Chinese adolescents Longitudinal 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Psychology, Faculty of Social Sciences and HumanitiesUniversity of MacauTaipaMacao

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