Would you be happier if you had more money to buy more things for yourself? If yes, then I would guess you are Millennial.
‘How can you tell?’ You might ask.
Well, the question you just answered is part of the Youth Materialism Scale and it turns out that materialism has reached historically high levels for millennials. Concerning is that materialism escalation is linked to mental health problems, decrease of intrinsic motivation as well as school grades, and unsurprisingly selfish attitudes and behaviors. Now do not despair, there is still hope for you, me, or the generations to come.
A group of researchers looked at the impact of gratitude on adolescent materialism and generosity. Firstly, they conducted a study in which participants answered a survey that measured their materialism, and their gratitude with four items that assessed how thankful they are for people and possessions in their life. The results indicate that more grateful adolescents are less materialistic.
In a second study participants completed the same gratitude and materialism measures and then kept a two-week journal to record who and what they were thankful for each day. After two weeks, they completed the same measures and as a behavioral measure, participants were given ten 1$ bills for their participation and were informed that they could donate some or all of it to charity. Their findings come to our rescue and show that keeping a gratitude journal leads to less materialism and more generosity.
Chaplin, L. N., John, D. R., Rindfleisch, A., & Froh, J. J. (2018). The impact of gratitude on adolescent materialism and generosity. The Journal of Positive Psychology, 14(4), 502-511. https://doi.org/10.1080/17439760.2018.1497688
Goldberg, M. E., Gorn, G. J., Peracchio, L. A., & Bamossy, G. (2003). Understanding materialism among youth. Journal of Consumer Psychology, 13(3), 278-288. https://doi.org/10.1207/s15327663jcp1303_09