Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Gratitude, not 'gimme,' makes for more satisfaction, study finds

Date:
March 31, 2014
Source:
Baylor University
Summary:
People who are materialistic are more likely to be depressed and unsatisfied, in part because they find it harder to be grateful for what they have, according to a study. "Gratitude is a positive mood. It's about other people," said the study's lead author. "Previous research finds that people are motivated to help people that help them." But materialism tends to be "me-centered." A material outlook focuses on what one does not have, impairing the ability to be grateful for what one already has, researchers said.

"We're social creatures, and so focusing on others in a positive way is good for our health," the researchers state. They note that materialism tends to be "me-centered," which negatively affects one's happiness and satisfaction.
Credit: Andy Dean / Fotolia

People who are materialistic are more likely to be depressed and unsatisfied, in part because they find it harder to be grateful for what they have, according to a study by Baylor University psychology and business researchers. The study -- "Why are materialists less happy? The role of gratitude and need satisfaction in the relationship between materialism and life satisfaction" -- appears in the journal Personality and Individual Differences.

"Gratitude is a positive mood. It's about other people," said study lead author Jo-Ann Tsang, Ph.D., associate professor of psychology and neuroscience in Baylor's College of Arts and Sciences. "Previous research that we and others have done finds that people are motivated to help people that help them -- and to help others as well. We're social creatures, and so focusing on others in a positive way is good for our health." But materialism tends to be "me-centered." A material outlook focuses on what one does not have, impairing the ability to be grateful for what one already has, researchers said.

"Our ability to adapt to new situations may help explain why 'more stuff' doesn't make us any happier," said study co-author James Roberts, Ph.D., holder of The Ben H. Williams Professorship in Marketing in Baylor's Hankamer School of Business. "As we amass more and more possessions, we don't get any happier -- we simply raise our reference point," he said. "That new 2,500-square-foot house becomes the baseline for your desires for an even bigger house. It's called the Treadmill of Consumption. We continue to purchase more and more stuff but we don't get any closer to happiness, we simply speed up the treadmill."

Study results were based on an analysis of 246 members of the department of marketing in a mid-sized private university in the southwestern United States, with an average age of 21. They took part in a 15-minute survey using a 15-item scale of materialism. Previous research suggests that materialists, despite the fact they are more likely to achieve material goals, are less satisfied overall with their lives. They are more likely to be unhappy and have lower self-esteem. They also are more likely to be less satisfied with relationships and less involved in community events. Meanwhile, those who are grateful are likely to find more meaning in life, previous research shows.

The study notes that ancient Greek philosopher Epicurus advised, "Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Baylor University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Jo-Ann Tsang, Thomas P. Carpenter, James A. Roberts, Michael B. Frisch, Robert D. Carlisle. Why are materialists less happy? The role of gratitude and need satisfaction in the relationship between materialism and life satisfaction. Personality and Individual Differences, 2014; 64: 62 DOI: 10.1016/j.paid.2014.02.009

Cite This Page:

Baylor University. "Gratitude, not 'gimme,' makes for more satisfaction, study finds." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 31 March 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140331180613.htm>.
Baylor University. (2014, March 31). Gratitude, not 'gimme,' makes for more satisfaction, study finds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 2, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140331180613.htm
Baylor University. "Gratitude, not 'gimme,' makes for more satisfaction, study finds." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140331180613.htm (accessed September 2, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Can You Train Your Brain To Eat Healthy?

Can You Train Your Brain To Eat Healthy?

Newsy (Sep. 1, 2014) New research says if you condition yourself to eat healthy foods, eventually you'll crave them instead of junk food. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Coffee Then Napping: The (New) Key To Alertness

Coffee Then Napping: The (New) Key To Alertness

Newsy (Aug. 30, 2014) Researchers say having a cup of coffee then taking a nap is more effective than a nap or coffee alone. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Young Entrepreneurs Get $100,000, If They Quit School

Young Entrepreneurs Get $100,000, If They Quit School

AFP (Aug. 29, 2014) Twenty college-age students are getting 100,000 dollars from a Silicon Valley leader and a chance to live in San Francisco in order to work on the start-up project of their dreams, but they have to quit school first. Duration: 02:20 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Baby Babbling Might Lead To Faster Language Development

Baby Babbling Might Lead To Faster Language Development

Newsy (Aug. 29, 2014) A new study suggests babies develop language skills more quickly if their parents imitate the babies' sounds and expressions and talk to them often. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins