Counteracting teens' logo lust: Supportive parents can reduce materialism in teens

Mar 24, 2010

Today's adolescents have been characterized as the most materialistic generation in history: a brand-oriented and consumer-involved group who derive self-worth from owning luxury handbags and the latest technology devices.

Many blame and peers for the increased level of teen materialism. In fact, research suggests that parents and peers act as role models of behavior and therefore, highly materialistic parents and peers are likely to encourage materialism in teenagers.

A new paper from University of Arizona assistant marketing professor Lan Nguyen Chaplin of the Eller College of Management assesses the issue through a different lens.

"Instead of just looking at how parents and peers encourage materialism in teenagers, we also examine how they decrease materialism. We view parents and peers as important sources of and psychological well-being, which ultimately affects teenagers' level of materialism" said Chaplin. "We find that supportive parents and peers boost adolescents' self-esteem, which decreases their need to embrace material goods as a way to develop positive self-perceptions."

Along with co-author Deborah Roedder John of the University of Minnesota Carlson School of Management, Chaplin studied 12- to 18-year-olds and found that it is possible for parents to reduce their adolescents' drive for material goods. The resulting paper, "Interpersonal Influences on Adolescent Materialism: A New Look at the Role of Parents and Peers," is forthcoming in the Journal of Consumer Psychology.

The authors found that who have supportive and accepting parents and peers in their lives are less materialistic. Parents and peers can provide the support and acceptance that teens crave, which reduces their need to focus on expensive material goods as a substitute for self-worth.

"Parents and play a very important role in teenagers' lives. They provide the much needed emotional support and contribute greatly to teenagers' feelings of self-worth," said Chaplin. "When teens feel better about themselves, they are less likely to feel the need to use material possessions to boost their self-esteem and achieve happiness."

Explore further: Alcohol makes smiles more 'contagious,' but only for men

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Peers versus parents in modern China

Aug 14, 2008

In metropolitan China, high school students' self-esteem depends more on good relations with peers than parents, a new UC Davis study shows. But the opposite is true for younger adolescents and young adults: Both base their ...

Stereotypes can fuel teen misbehavior

Oct 21, 2009

Drinking. Drugs. Caving into peer pressure. When parents expect their teenagers to conform to negative stereotypes, those teens are in fact more likely to do so, according to new research by Christy Buchanan, ...

Recommended for you

How to predict who will suffer the most from stress

2 hours ago

More than 23 per cent of Canadians report being stressed or very stressed on most days. While chronic stress increases the risk of poor mental and physical health, not everyone is affected the same way. Some cope well, but ...

Alcohol makes smiles more 'contagious,' but only for men

11 hours ago

Consuming an alcoholic beverage may make men more responsive to the smiles of others in their social group, according to new research in Clinical Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Ps ...

User comments : 0