August 2012. Several American news outlets, including CBS and NBC, have highlighted a new study by Opree, Buijzen, and Valkenburg. The study, published in the September issue of Pediatrics, deals with the relationship between materialism and children’s life satisfaction.
Although materialistic children were believed to become less satisfied with their lives, this study suggests otherwise. Over the course of one year, materialistic children’s happiness was unchanged. Unhappy children, however, were found to become more materialistic - but only if they were frequently exposed to television advertising. Unhappy children did not watch more advertising than happy children, but they seem to be more susceptible to its effects.
The results of the study counter existing theory on the topic. It is often assumed that materialistic children will become less happy because, over time, they learn that possessions do not lead to the anticipated happiness. The results of this study debunk this long-held belief.
A total of 466 8- to 11-year-olds participated in this longitudinal study, completing two surveys within a one-year-interval.
The article can be downloaded here.