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The Problematic Role of Materialistic Values in the Pursuit of Sustainable Well-Being
International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, Volume: 19, Issue: 6, Start page: 3673
Swansea University Author: Amy Isham
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DOI (Published version): 10.3390/ijerph19063673
Strong materialistic values help to maintain consumer capitalism, but they can have negative consequences for individual well-being, for social equity and for environmental sustainability. In this paper, we add to the existing literature on the adverse consequences of materialistic values by highlig...
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Strong materialistic values help to maintain consumer capitalism, but they can have negative consequences for individual well-being, for social equity and for environmental sustainability. In this paper, we add to the existing literature on the adverse consequences of materialistic values by highlighting their negative association with engagement in attitudes and actions that support the achievement of sustainable well-being. To do this, we explore the links between materialistic values and attitudes towards sufficiency (consuming “just enough”) as well as mindfulness (non-judgmental awareness of the present moment) and flow (total immersion in an activity), which have all been linked to increased well-being and more sustainable behaviours. We present results from three correlational studies that examine the association between materialistic values and sufficiency attitudes (Study 1, n = 310), a multi-faceted measure of mindfulness (Study 2, n = 468) and the tendency to experience flow (Study 3, n = 2000). Results show that materialistic values were negatively associated with sufficiency attitudes, mindfulness, and flow experiences. We conclude with practical considerations and suggest next steps for tackling the problematic aspects of materialism and encouraging the development of sustainable well-being.
Data Availability Statement: The datasets generated during and/or analysed during the currentstudy are available in the Open Science Framework repository, https://osf.io/yme78/?view_only=6602888659044954aead390df3615901 accessed date: 22 April 2021.
materialism; well-being; sustainability; sufficiency; mindfulness; flow
Faculty of Medicine, Health and Life Sciences
For Study 3: the authors gratefully acknowledge financial support from the UK Economic
and Social Research Council (ESRC), in particular through grant no: ES/M010163/1 which supports
the Centre for the Understanding of Sustainable Prosperity