I conducted this research to investigate the compensatory theory of consumption. This theory holds that insecurity about personal identity can lead to compensatory consumption of goods that align with the desired identity. Material goods take on the role as tangible representations of identity. The findings of this research highlight that valuing materialism is in fact linked to psychological insecurity and low levels of self-esteem. This paper backs up findings of previous research showing that valuing material possessions is associated with reduced overall well-being. We try and buy things to make us happy, but it doesn’t really work!
This study aimed to find a relationship between self-congruence and materialistic values. The Self-Congruence Scale used the Q-SORT method to assess the difference between actual and ideal selves, and the Materialistic Values Scale measured materialism. These self report scales were completed by 228 participants with a mean age of 30.72 years (SD = 12.80 years) of both genders. Materialistic values were viewed as an identity seeking tendency, used to fill the gap between actual and ideal selves. It was hypothesised that individuals with high self-congruence would possess lower levels of materialistic values, and that this relationship would be stronger in women. Results confirmed that there was a significant inverse correlation between self-congruence and materialism, however there was no significant difference in this relationship between genders. These findings support the view that materialism is related to identity, and that endorsement of materialism may be based on self dissatisfaction.
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