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Tangible or Intangible Ways to Happiness? Consumption Related Values Among Adolescents


  • János Debreceni

    (Budapesti Gazdasági Egyetem,Budapest)


In recent years a large number of consumer studies focused on happiness, subjective well-being and satisfaction with life in relationship with material or experimental consumption. Most of the studies applied statistically reliable validated scales and measurements involving large numbers of respondents. There are only a few study that aimed to answer the meaning of happiness or satisfaction and their reflections in adolescents’ consumer behaviour at the present time. Due to the less represented academic literature in that area and the controversial results of our previous quantitative research on materialism we decided to conduct a qualitative research to investigate the meaning of happiness among adolescents in Hungary. Our non-representative sample consisted of students from 5 different high schools in 3 cities including Budapest. Respondents took part in in-depth interviews, peer interviews and worked in groups in associative experiments. According to our findings physical goods and material consumption contribute less to the individuals’ sense of happiness and interpersonal relationships are more appreciated. The teenagers of our sample showed signs of material emptiness, since possessing things were unimportant for them Family, stable personal relationships and safety were very significant among their values. Their consumer behaviour was influenced mostly by the need for gaining experiences rather than need for acquisition and possession of tangible goods.

Suggested Citation

  • János Debreceni, 2018. "Tangible or Intangible Ways to Happiness? Consumption Related Values Among Adolescents," European Journal of Multidisciplinary Studies Articles, European Center for Science Education and Research, vol. 3, EJMS Sept.
  • Handle: RePEc:eur:ejmsjr:520

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Weaver, S. Todd & Moschis, George P. & Davis, Teresa, 2011. "Antecedents of materialism and compulsive buying: A life course study in Australia," Australasian marketing journal, Elsevier, vol. 19(4), pages 247-256.
    2. Tamás Martos & Mária Kopp, 2012. "Life Goals and Well-Being: Does Financial Status Matter? Evidence from a Representative Hungarian Sample," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 105(3), pages 561-568, February.
    3. Audrin, Catherine & Brosch, Tobias & Chanal, Julien & Sander, David, 2017. "When symbolism overtakes quality: Materialists consumers disregard product quality when faced with luxury brands," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 61(C), pages 115-123.
    4. Richins, Marsha L & Dawson, Scott, 1992. "A Consumer Values Orientation for Materialism and Its Measurement: Scale Development and Validation," Journal of Consumer Research, Oxford University Press, vol. 19(3), pages 303-316, December.
    5. John, Deborah Roedder, 1999. "Consumer Socialization of Children: A Retrospective Look at Twenty-Five Years of Research," Journal of Consumer Research, Oxford University Press, vol. 26(3), pages 183-213, December.
    6. Kahle, Lynn R & Beatty, Sharon E & Homer, Pamela, 1986. "Alternative Measurement Approaches to Consumer Values: The List of Values (LOV) and Values and Life Style (VALS)," Journal of Consumer Research, Oxford University Press, vol. 13(3), pages 405-409, December.
    7. Jiang Jiang & Yue Song & Yannan Ke & Rong Wang & Hongyun Liu, 2016. "Is Disciplinary Culture a Moderator Between Materialism and Subjective Well-being? A Three-Wave Longitudinal Study," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 17(4), pages 1391-1408, August.
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