Subjective Well-Being among Adolescent Consumers: The Effects of Materialism, Compulsive Buying, and Time Affluence

Abstract

The burgeoning world-wide consumer culture brings with it certain baggage. Materialistic attitudes and compulsive buying have both been linked to lower levels of subjective well-being in consumers. Additionally, time is becoming an increasingly precious commodity as denizens of the consumer culture increase their work load and activities in an attempt to fully achieve the happiness promised by a lifestyle of consumption. The purpose of the present research is to investigate whether the negative impact of materialism and compulsive buying on well-being is moderated by a person’s perceived time affluence (the time one perceives he/she has available for life’s many activities). Using a large sample of adolescents (n = 1,329), the present study finds that (1) materialism and compulsive buying negatively impact subjective well-being, and that (2) time affluence moderates the relationship between materialism and compulsive buying and well-being. Specifically, perceptions of time affluence were found to negate the negative relationship between both materialism and SWB and compulsive buying and SWB. And (3), the present research appears to have uncovered a “sweet spot” when it comes to the influence of time affluence on the above relationships. Too little or too much time affluence was found to be associated with lower well-being. A simple slope analysis suggests that moderate levels of time affluence are most conducive to our well-being as consumers. In addition to discussing these findings, the authors also note certain limitations and offer directions for future research.

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Correspondence to Chris Manolis.

Appendix

Appendix

Measures
Compulsive Buying (d’Astous et al. 1990)
 I often buy something I see in a store without planning, just because I got to have it.
 Shopping is a way of relaxing and forgetting my problems.
 I sometimes feel that something inside pushes me to go shopping.
 There are times when I have a strong urge to buy clothing, music jewelry, etc.
 I often have a real desire to go shopping and buy something.
 As soon as I enter a shopping center, I want to go in a store and buy something.
 I like to spend money.
Core Self-Evaluation Scale (Judge et al. 2003)
 When I try, I generally succeed.
 Overall, I am satisfied with myself.
 I am filled with doubts about my competence. R
Youth Materialism Scale (Goldberg et al. 2003)
 I’d rather spend time buying things, than doing almost anything else.
 I would be happier if I had more money to buy more things for myself.
 The only kind of job I want when I grow up is one that gets me a lot of money.
Time Affluence Scale (Kasser and Sheldon 2009)
 I have had enough time to do what I need to do.
 I have been able to take life at a leisurely pace.
 I have had enough time to do the things that are important to me.

R = reversed scored

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Manolis, C., Roberts, J.A. Subjective Well-Being among Adolescent Consumers: The Effects of Materialism, Compulsive Buying, and Time Affluence. Applied Research Quality Life 7, 117–135 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11482-011-9155-5

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Keywords

  • Time affluence
  • Adolescents
  • Subjective well-being
  • Materialism
  • Compulsive buying