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Research on materialism has burgeoned in the last two decades, yet little is known about how people higher versus lower in this consumer values orientation differ in their day-to-day spending habits and in their emotional reactions to spending on purchases. The present study used an event-sampling method over a 3-week period to address these questions in a community adult sample. Results showed that over the course of the sampling period, high materialists made more discretionary purchases and spent more money on necessity purchases than did those lower in materialism, even though their incomes did not differ. Despite higher levels of spending, high materialists experienced a “letdown” after spending, as they reported more post-purchase unpleasant affect than did low materialists. This result was not moderated by level of dispositional unpleasant affect, purchase type, or purchase amounts.
Brown, Kirk Warren, Tim Kasser, Richard M. Ryan, and James Konow (2016). “Materialism, Spending, and Affect: An Event-Sampling Study of Marketplace Behavior and Its Affective Costs,” Journal of Happiness Studies, vol. 17, no. 6 (December), pp. 2277-2292.