Development of materialistic values among children and adolescents

Kara Chan*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

35 Citations (Scopus)
26 Downloads (Pure)


Materialism among the younger generation has become a hot topic among parents, educators, marketers and policy makers, especially in Macao, a city where the influx of tourists and the expanding gaming facilities bring the potential threat of materialism and the erosion of traditional family values. This study aims to develop a model using age, sex, social comparison of consumption with friends, attention to advertising, and self-esteem to predict young people's materialistic values. A probability sampling of 667 elementary and secondary school students aged 8 to 17 in Macao was conducted. Results show that social comparison of consumption with friends was the most important factor in predicting respondents' endorsement of materialistic values, followed by self-esteem. All the constructs are measured by self-reporting. Some respondents may give socially desirable answers. Parents and educators should be aware of young people's engagement in social comparison of consumption. They should discourage children and adolescents from comparing possessions with friends. Regulating young consumers' exposure to advertising would not be successful in discouraging materialism. This is the first study that examines materialistic values of both children and adolescents using the same scale and survey methodology in Chinese society. Also, this is the first study reported on materialism in Macao.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)244-257
Number of pages14
JournalYoung Consumers
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 23 Aug 2013

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance (miscellaneous)
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies

User-Defined Keywords

  • Materialism
  • Social comparison
  • consumer psychology
  • Macao
  • Surveys
  • Young adults
  • Leisure activities
  • individual behavior
  • Young consumers
  • China


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