about materialism

Materialism and its Characteristics

Materialism is characterized as the degree to which people seek to engage themselves in self-maintenance and development through the purchase and use of services, objects, relationships, or interactions that are meant to have desirable representational meaning. The concept differs from the others in that it (a) defines materialism in relation to the acquisition, which includes not only buying, but also obtaining by inheritances, donations, and other non-purchase procedures; and (b) specifies the motivational foundations of materialism as a way of construction and preserving self-identity. (c) combines the usage of the purchase (for instance displaying an acquisition); (d) comprises not only services and products, but as well experiences (for instances sporting events and vacations) as well as relationships (for instance marriages and friendships); and (e) talk about the acquisitions' symbolic nature, and therefore the level at which the purchases and their usage work like a indicator, whether to others or to oneself. Certain aspects are believed to cause materialism on happiness, within the environment of the bad, good, as well as ugly (Thomas & Wilson, 2016).

Causes of Materialism


Most individuals, who express such high tendency to consume, attain high level on scales measuring materialism and low levels on the one measuring self-esteem. This is the point where the generally recognized opinion that people turn materialistic when trying to reimburse for the emotional state of inadequacy and insecurity and people works towards occupying such vacuum within their lives through acquiring possessions must be considered (Shrum et al., 2014). Materialism as a diversion from spirits of insufficiency is the point it links to the idea of self-esteem. The materialism-pathway plan is agreed upon by the majority of the people. Nearly all of the works suggests the justifications for that kind of feelings of insufficiency and insecurity to diverse childhood-connected factors.

Contributions of Social Pressure on Materialism

In another research to recognize the occurrence of tendencies of status consumptions within Indian surroundings, looked at 'social pressure' like a key factor causing to such purchasing behavior. Social comparisons and peer pressure were seen like the two major factors that causes such kind of behavior (Thomas & Wilson, 2016). Easy accessibility of finances was another significant factor looked at in fueling that kind of purchases.

Recognizing Social Pressure Aspects of Materialism

Social pressure is the term generally employed within the societal influence's context of people to divert them towards an exact behavior or end (Thomas & Wilson, 2016). Social pressure, just as an idea has been premeditated in several domains mostly connected to sociology and social psychology. Though some authors have utilized it like just another word for group effects on the people, for majority of the writers, it symbolizes the entire sum of the several social effects that acts on any person. The construct of social pressure is considered as a mixture of all aspects that causes pressure on people to obey the attitudes, opinions or conduct of other people. 'Social pressure to consume': is the effect of socialization aspects which comprise peer group, media, family, social assessment with referents as well as attitude towards debt, which forms a strong desire in people to get into consumption doings in order to conform to prevailing attitude or social norms, or behavior and opinion of leading characters.

The idea supporting this recommended social pressure path is copied from the Kasser et al socialization pathway (Shrum et al., 2014). Socialization concepts indicates that, factors such as media, particularly social comparisons, television, peers, and family can function as the causes of materialism. The social pressure plan is assumed as a causing pathway that is detached from low self-esteem, which might suitably describe the materialism observed within the Indian surroundings.

Effects of Materialism

Compensatory consumption

Compensatory consumption talks about the consumption, which is inspired by self-threats resulting after self-concept of an individual is challenged. Examples comprise pressures to both comprehensive important human requirements (e.g. power as well as control, necessity to belong, self-esteem, as well as meaningful existence) and more precise self-features, which might be significant to a person (e.g. an exciting behavior, intelligence and athletic ability). When self-threats are experienced by people, they make effort to bring back the specific features of self-worth, while one procedure to do this is thru consumption (Shrum et al., 2014). Individuals employs symbolic products in order to achieve or retain their own uniqueness, and for signaling their chosen personality to others people. It means that, consumers involves in materialistic usage for they are certain (at least indirectly) that it must promote their approval, self-esteem, or feeling of power as well as control.

Usefulness of materialism without self-threats

It has been recommended that materialistic conducts might possess both other- as well as self-signaling motivations, while the motivations might have value for consumers. Nevertheless, self-threat and the necessity to reinforce fragile self-features can never alone justify the materialistic behaviors' motivations. The occurrence of materialistic conduct proposes that there might be other actual or perceived positive effects (Shrum et al., 2014). Therefore, even though an extensive literature concerning the negative connection between materialism as well as well-being is there, the query still stands: Why, when materialism is unsuccessful in getting life consummation, is it very alluring? One opportunity is that several people are certain that materialism can and will end up making them contented. As a matter of fact, among the Richins & Dawson's three subscales concerning materialism in 1992 processes the confidence that a person's belongings will make him/her happy and contented, and more so will make the person happier.

Altruistic as well as pro-social behaviors

Although people normally have got an instinctive opinion towards what creates materialistic consumption, while there are genuine cultural differences among these observations, there are perhaps more shared aims than differences. Notions such as need for luxurious products as well as conspicuous consumption are two instances (Thomas & Wilson, 2016). However, mainly because individuals consume in luxurious as well as conspicuous manner does never de facto show languages of materialism: relies on the figurative nature (signaling aspects) of the conduct. For instance, an individual might acquire a huge, luxurious house, not purposely for signaling prestige and wealth, but because of the comfort as well as security it offers, and a prosperous person might depend on expensive brand names that are known to be reputable brands by the people who are less well-off – as an experiential of function and quality, only as less prosperous consumers do through daily brands.


This study demonstrates that materialism within our surroundings is not activated by low self-confidence, however it is triggered by a group of other related social aspects. Thus the most outstanding contribution of the paper is, it has the capacity to empirically shape the influence of attitude towards TV, social comparison, peer pressure, as well as attitude to debts in growth of materialism and social pressure. Attitude toward debts has been comprised here like a socialization aspect and no prior research has empirically outlined a relationship amid it as well as materialism. The model of social pressure actually plans the presence of an alternative path of materialism that is not linked to the original low self-esteem paths and it might explain the way different socialization aspects interact as well as triggering materialism.


Shrum, L. J., Lowrey, T. M., Pandelaere, M., Ruvio, A. A., Gentina, E., Furchheim, P., ... & Nairn, A. (2014). Materialism: the good, the bad, and the ugly. Journal of Marketing Management, 30(17-18), 1858-1881.

Thomas, S. E., & Wilson, P. R. (2016). The Role of Social Pressure as a Moderator of Materialism. IUP Journal of Management Research, 15(2).

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