Warning: materialism can lead to perpetual Sadness
The saying ‘the things you own end up owning you’ may actually be true after a new research proved that materialism is linked with higher instances of depression and dissatisfaction with life.
Researchers from the Baylor University Texas’ College of Arts and Sciences revealed that people who ‘amass more and more possessions’ don’t get any happier because they ‘simply raise [their] reference point.’
The researchers based their study on the idea that materialistic people are more self-centred. Happiness, however, can only be boosted if people focus more on others. Lead author and Associate Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience Jo-Ann Tsang said ‘We’re social creatures, and so focusing on others in a positive way is good for our health.’
To prove that self-centredness through materialism leads to depression, 246 people with an average age of 21 from a university’s marketing department were asked to answer an online survey that rated their materialistic tendencies, level of thankfulness, need satisfaction and life satisfaction.
They concluded that those who rated low in thankfulness and high in need satisfaction were likely more materialistic and less happy with life. Their conclusion supports previous studies that linked depression and materialism.
The study explained that ‘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.’
Overseas Employment authorities in the Philippines could benefit from the Baylor University study as it can help them improve their OFW-focused programmes and financial literacy projects.
A previous study entitled ‘The Economic and Social Effects of Overseas Employment on Women and their Families: A Study Of Migrant Domestic Workers Of Davao City’ by Dianne Cabasagan, RGS shows that OFW families are prone to developing materialistic tendencies as a consequence of earning a living abroad.
However, this downward trend is currently seeing a change as Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas revealed more OFWs are choosing to save or spend their income in long-term investments today rather than durable items today.