The problematic role of materialistic values in the pursuit of sustainable well-being

Article


Isham, A., Verfuerth, C., Armstrong, A., Elf, P., Gatersleben, B. and Jackson, T. 2022. The problematic role of materialistic values in the pursuit of sustainable well-being. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 19 (6). https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19063673
TypeArticle
TitleThe problematic role of materialistic values in the pursuit of sustainable well-being
AuthorsIsham, A., Verfuerth, C., Armstrong, A., Elf, P., Gatersleben, B. and Jackson, T.
Abstract

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.

Keywordsmaterialism; well-being; sustainability; sufficiency; mindfulness; flow
Research GroupCentre for Enterprise, Environment and Development Research (CEEDR)
LanguageEnglish
PublisherMDPI
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
ISSN1661-7827
Electronic1660-4601
Publication dates
Print19 Mar 2022
Publication process dates
Deposited21 Mar 2022
Accepted17 Mar 2022
Submitted25 Jan 2022
Output statusPublished
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Copyright Statement

Copyright: © 2022 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.
This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19063673
Web of Science identifierWOS:000775477400001
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