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Using Self-Determination Theory to Understand when and how Money Buys Happiness: a Cross-Sectional and Intervention Study

Abstract

The objectives of this article were twofold: (1) understand what motivates people to make money and how this impacts well-being and (2) explore whether it is possible to encourage the adoption of healthy reasons for making money. Using confirmatory factor analysis (n = 633), Study 1 found support for three broad categories of reasons for making money, namely Financial stability, Self-integrated and Non-integrated motives. Study 2 (n = 464) revealed that when individuals desire money for Financial stability and Self-integrated reasons, this encourages psychological need satisfaction and in turn leads to well-being. When money is pursued for Non-integrated reasons, this leads to the active thwarting of the psychological needs and in turn greater ill-being. Using structural equation modeling, Study 2 also suggests that materialism may be better conceptualized as a set of unhealthy reasons for desiring money. Finally, Study 3 (n = 41) provided preliminary evidence for the effectiveness of an intervention aiming to help individuals become aware of their own motives for making money and reduce unhealthy motives.

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Table 4 Content of the intervention

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Manganelli, L., Forest, J. Using Self-Determination Theory to Understand when and how Money Buys Happiness: a Cross-Sectional and Intervention Study. Applied Research Quality Life 17, 31–56 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11482-020-09875-6

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11482-020-09875-6

Keywords

  • Motives
  • Self-determination theory
  • Need satisfaction
  • Need frustration
  • Materialism
  • Intervention