Perception of Material Possessions and Personality Traits Among Adolescents

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A study was conducted to measure perceived personality traits associated with someone described as owning many or few material possessions. Altogether 469 Chinese adolescents aged 15 to 20 were surveyed using a random sampling of secondary schools and a self-administered questionnaire. Respondents saw photos and read vignette of a person described as having a lot of or few material possessions. They then imagined personal characteristics of such a person. Results indicated that a person with a lot of possessions was more likely to be imagined as spending irresponsibly, selfish and envious of others. Respondents were more likely to perceive a person without a lot of possessions as hardworking, care about others, willing to serve and with good academic results. Seventeen percent of the respondents said they would prefer to be the person with many possessions. The marketing implication is that marketers should be sensitive to the perceived link between possessions and negative personal characteristics of the owner.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)115-126
Number of pages12
JournalHumanities and Social Sciences Review
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2019

User-Defined Keywords

  • Materialism
  • Consumer Psychology
  • Perceptions
  • Adolescents
  • Macao


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