The scale you completed was the Material Values Scale, developed by Marsha L. Richins (2004)

The scale measures the degree to which you value material possessions. A higher score on the scale suggests that you place a greater importance on material things. It is divided into three parts:
  • Acquisition Centrality
    • Seeing the pursuit and acquisition of material items as one of your primary life goals.
  • Pursuit of Happiness
    • Believing that material possessions provide happiness.
  • Defined Success
    • Thinking of material possessions as signs of success and achievement.

The graph below shows your values on these scales with your score (in blue) compared to those of of less happy people than average (in red) and more happy people (in blue)

As the graph above shows, people who are happier are less likely to believe that material possessions provide happiness or think of material possessions as signs of success and achievement. Also, in the graph below, your score (shown in green), is compared to the average of people from different generations who have taken the scale on our website.

If you are unfamiliar with the labels for different generations, and the years associated with those generations, here is a quick summary:

1927-1945: Traditionalists were born around, or parented by, those of The Great Depression and were children of the WWII generation.

1946-1964: Baby Boomers are also referred to as the "me" generation or the "rock and roll" music gen. They ushered in the free love and societal "non-violent" protests.

1965-1983: Gen Xs were raised by the career and money conscious Boomers amid the societal disappointment over governmental authority and the Vietnam war.

1984- 2002: The Millennials have a reputation for being peer oriented and for seeking instant gratification. Facebook, MySpace, SMS and other instant communication technologies may explain this trend.

Why is materialism bad for well-being? Research shows that materialistic people have lower life satisfaction, less happiness, and higher levels of depression… Why?
• Materialistic people value achievement by cultural or societal standards instead of personal ones.
•They often shop to gain status but never feel that they have enough status.
•Materialistic values are self-focused, and this focus creates a conflict with valuing one’s community and personal relationships.

What can I do to decrease materialism? Below are recommendations of psychologist Dr. Tim Kasser.
• Since materialism may stem from insecurity, cope with bad moods through social contact or enjoyable activities instead of going out to buy something.
• Limit your exposure to advertising by muting commercials or blocking ads on the internet, for example.
• Spend more time with other people and do activities you believe benefit others.
• Think about your intrinsic goals - what you would like do mainly because you consider it meaningful in itself - and try to make space for them in your life.

In the following video, Dr. Tim Kasser discusses how America's culture of materialism undermines our well-being.

Also, materialism may be connected to other life values. Do you want to know about your other values, which are not related to consumption, and see how you compare? You might be interested in taking our Schwartz Values Scale.

Do you have ideas on improving this study? Or did you encounter any difficulties in answering the questions? Click here to send a message to the creators of this study.

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