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Material Parenting: How the Use of Goods in Parenting Fosters Materialism in the Next Generation


  • Marsha L. Richins
  • Lan Nguyen Chaplin


This research introduces the concept of material parenting, in which parents use material goods to express their love or to shape children's behavior. Despite the common use of material goods for these purposes, possible long term effects of material parenting practices have not been studied. This article addresses this oversight by examining the potential effects of material parenting on the material values of children once they're grown. This research proposes and tests a material parenting pathway, in which warm and supportive parents provide children with material rewards that in the long run foster materialism in adulthood. An insecurity pathway to materialism, previously proposed in the literature, is also examined. Results from three survey studies provide support for both pathways. Results also suggest that material parenting may influence children's material values by (possibly unintentionally) encouraging them to use possessions to shape and transform the self.

Suggested Citation

  • Marsha L. Richins & Lan Nguyen Chaplin, 2015. "Material Parenting: How the Use of Goods in Parenting Fosters Materialism in the Next Generation," Journal of Consumer Research, Oxford University Press, vol. 41(6), pages 1333-1357.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:jconrs:doi:10.1086/680087
    DOI: 10.1086/680087

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    Cited by:

    1. Yang, Xiujuan & Fan, Cuiying & Liu, Qingqi & Chu, Xiaowei & Song, Youzhi & Zhou, Zongkui, 2020. "Parenting styles and children’s sleep quality: Examining the mediating roles of mindfulness and loneliness," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 114(C).
    2. Jaspers, Esther, 2018. "Opening up on consumer materialism," Other publications TiSEM a21cb1c8-5af1-46cc-9ea0-a, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
    3. Paulo Albuquerque & Merrie Brucks & Margaret C. Campbell & Kara Chan & Michal Maimaran & Anna R. McAlister & Sophie Nicklaus, 2018. "Persuading Children: a Framework for Understanding Long-Lasting Influences on Children’s Food Choices," Customer Needs and Solutions, Springer;Institute for Sustainable Innovation and Growth (iSIG), vol. 5(1), pages 38-50, March.
    4. Elodie Gentina & L. J. Shrum & Tina M. Lowrey & Scott J. Vitell & Gregory M. Rose, 2018. "An Integrative Model of the Influence of Parental and Peer Support on Consumer Ethical Beliefs: The Mediating Role of Self-Esteem, Power, and Materialism," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 150(4), pages 1173-1186, July.
    5. Lindblom, Arto & Lindblom, Taru & Wechtler, Heidi, 2018. "Collaborative consumption as C2C trading: Analyzing the effects of materialism and price consciousness," Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, Elsevier, vol. 44(C), pages 244-252.
    6. Schill, Marie & Godefroit-Winkel, Delphine & Diallo, Mbaye Fall & Barbarossa, Camilla, 2019. "Consumers’ intentions to purchase smart home objects: Do environmental issues matter?," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 161(C), pages 176-185.
    7. Kapferer, Jean-Noël & Valette-Florence, Pierre, 2019. "How self-success drives luxury demand: An integrated model of luxury growth and country comparisons," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 102(C), pages 273-287.
    8. Elodie Gentina & Thomas Li-Ping Tang & Qinxuan Gu, 2018. "Do Parents and Peers Influence Adolescents’ Monetary Intelligence and Consumer Ethics? French and Chinese Adolescents and Behavioral Economics," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 151(1), pages 115-140, August.
    9. Sandra Awanis & Bodo B Schlegelmilch & Charles Chi Cui, 2017. "Asia’s materialists: Reconciling collectivism and materialism," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan;Academy of International Business, vol. 48(8), pages 964-991, October.

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