Life Satisfaction, Self-Determination, and Consumption Adequacy at the Bottom of the Pyramid
Concentration on consumption in material environments characterized by too much rather than too little creates important gaps in the understanding of how much of the earth’s population navigates the marketplace. This study investigates bottom-of-the-pyramid, or impoverished, consumers to better comprehend the relationship between societal poverty and individual life satisfaction as moderated by psychological need deprivation and described by self-determination theory. Data were gathered from more than 77,000 individuals in 51 of the world’s poorest countries. Using hierarchical linear models, results show that relatedness and autonomy improve poverty’s negative influence on life satisfaction, but only if basic life necessities are available, described as consumption adequacy. Findings illustrate that without consumption adequacy, psychological need fulfillment has little effect on the poverty–well-being relationship, emphasizing the hopelessness of individuals living in extreme poverty. Findings also suggest to researchers that impoverished consumers not only face different circumstances but actually respond to those circumstances in unique ways.
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