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Article

The Problematic Role of Materialistic Values in the Pursuit of Sustainable Well-Being

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Centre for the Understanding of Sustainable Prosperity (CUSP), Centre for Environment and Sustainability, University of Surrey, Guildford GU2 7XH, UK
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Centre for Climate Change and Social Transformations (CAST), School of Psychology, Cardiff University, Cardiff CF10 3AT, UK
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Present Minds Ltd., Surrey GU7 3EU, UK
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Centre for Enterprise and Economic Development Research (CEEDR), Middlesex University Business School, Middlesex University, London NW4 4BT, UK
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Hengjin Dong and Petri Böckerman
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(6), 3673; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19063673
Received: 25 January 2022 / Revised: 8 March 2022 / Accepted: 17 March 2022 / Published: 19 March 2022
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. View Full-Text
Keywords: materialism; well-being; sustainability; sufficiency; mindfulness; flow materialism; well-being; sustainability; sufficiency; mindfulness; flow
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MDPI and ACS Style

Isham, A.; Verfuerth, C.; Armstrong, A.; Elf, P.; Gatersleben, B.; Jackson, T. The Problematic Role of Materialistic Values in the Pursuit of Sustainable Well-Being. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19, 3673. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19063673

AMA Style

Isham A, Verfuerth C, Armstrong A, Elf P, Gatersleben B, Jackson T. The Problematic Role of Materialistic Values in the Pursuit of Sustainable Well-Being. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2022; 19(6):3673. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19063673

Chicago/Turabian Style

Isham, Amy, Caroline Verfuerth, Alison Armstrong, Patrick Elf, Birgitta Gatersleben, and Tim Jackson. 2022. "The Problematic Role of Materialistic Values in the Pursuit of Sustainable Well-Being" International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 19, no. 6: 3673. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19063673

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