Previous research has linked materialism to lower well-being in children, and recent findings suggest that this link is heightened among those exposed to high levels of advertising. One proposal is that children may be pursuing consumer culture ideals (CCIs) – orienting to material possessions and physical appearance – as a maladaptive coping strategy for dealing with underlying distress. The present work offers the first direct evaluation of this theoretically plausible hypothesis. In Study 1, higher scores on our measure of consumer-focused coping (CFC) not only predicted lower well-being in a sample of 109 9- to 11-year-olds, but also served as mediator in the indirect link between the number of hours spent watching television and lower well-being. Study 2 tested our expanded model of these processes in a sample of 380 9- to 11-year-olds. Specifically, structural equation modelling revealed that frequency of watching commercial (advertising-rich) television in particular predicted greater CFC. This, in turn, predicted greater endorsement of CCIs, which then predicted lower well-being. Implications for theoretical models and educational interventions are discussed.
Bibliographical noteThis is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Dunkeld, C., Wright, M. L., Banerjee, R. A., Easterbrook, M. J. and Slade, L. (2019), Television exposure, consumer culture values, and lower well‐being among preadolescent children: The mediating role of consumer‐focused coping strategies. Br. J. Soc. Psychol., which has been published in final form at https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/bjso.12325. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Use of Self-Archived Versions.
- Consumer-focused coping
- Television exposure
- Consumer cultures ideals
- media exposure
- consumer culture
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- School of Applied Social Science - Senior Lecturer
- Care, Health and Emotional Wellbeing Research and Enterprise Group