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Has the COVID-19 pandemic made us more materialistic? The effect of COVID-19 and lockdown restrictions on the endorsement of materialism

Moldes, Olaya ORCID:, Dineva, Denitsa ORCID: and Ku, Lisbeth 2022. Has the COVID-19 pandemic made us more materialistic? The effect of COVID-19 and lockdown restrictions on the endorsement of materialism. Psychology and Marketing 39 (5) , pp. 892-905. 10.1002/mar.21627
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The COVID-19 pandemic has led to an increase in the factors that typically facilitate the endorsement of materialistic values (e.g., higher media consumption, stress and anxiety, loneliness, death anxiety, and lower moods). In this paper, we examine how contextual changes affecting the antecedents of materialism influence its advocacy with a mixed-method approach. First, a correlational study (Study 1) suggests that increases in media consumption and stress and anxiety during the pandemic predicted current levels of materialism, however these effects were limited. Second, contrary to our expectations, a longitudinal study (Study 2) shows that people’s focus on money decreased during the pandemic. Last, a social media content analysis (Study 3) reveals a downward trend in users’ online discourses about consumption-related behaviours, but an upward trend in brands promoting spending as a way to attain well-being. The observed effects could fuel deeper societal change in the labour market and in consumer behaviour, and have further implications for individual and societal well-being in a post-pandemic world. We recommend future interventions aimed at diminishing materialistic attitudes to examine the effects of decreasing media consumption and to explore how other factors introduced by the pandemic (e.g., a health or well-being focus) might moderate its advocacy.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Business (Including Economics)
Centre for Business Relationships, Accountability, Sustainability and Society (BRASS)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Publisher: Wiley
ISSN: 0742-6046
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 31 January 2022
Date of Acceptance: 1 December 2021
Last Modified: 18 Jan 2023 17:18

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