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

Marsha L. Richins and Lan Nguyen Chaplin
Journal of Consumer Research
Vol. 41, No. 6 (April 2015), pp. 1333-1357
Published by: Oxford University Press
DOI: 10.1086/680087
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/680087
Page Count: 25
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Material Parenting: How the Use of Goods in Parenting Fosters Materialism in the Next Generation
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Abstract

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.

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