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2011 October 23 Sunday
Moderate Time Affluence Key To Teen Happiness

Strong desires for material things seems to make for unhappy marriages. Those desires also make for unhappy adolescence, especially when combined with too much or too little time on your hands.

What is more desirable: too little or too much spare time on your hands? To be happy, somewhere in the middle, according to Chris Manolis and James Roberts from Xavier University in Cincinnati, OH and Baylor University in Waco, TX. Their work shows that materialistic young people with compulsive buying issues need just the right amount of spare time to feel happier. The study is published online in Springer's journal Applied Research in Quality of Life.

We now live in a society where time is of the essence. The perception of a shortage of time, or time pressure, is linked to lower levels of happiness. At the same time, our consumer culture, characterized by materialism and compulsive buying, also has an effect on people's happiness: the desire for materialistic possessions leads to lower life satisfaction.

So kids should be moderately busy without too much or too little free time. Plus, if they want lots of stuff they'll be unhappy. Better to keep them away from TV and video ads on the web. I wonder if Amish kids are happier because they are technologically impaired and see far less media images of things to want.

Are compulsive buyers that way because they've got genes for compulsiveness? Are they just genetically ill-adapted to modern life?

Given the importance of time in contemporary life, Manolis and Roberts investigate, for the first time, the effect of perceived time affluence (the amount of spare time one perceives he or she has) on the consequences of materialistic values and compulsive buying for adolescent well-being.

A total of 1,329 adolescents from a public high school in a large metropolitan area of the Midwestern United States took part in the study. The researchers measured how much spare time the young people thought they had; the extent to which they held materialistic values and had compulsive buying tendencies; and their subjective well-being, or self-rated happiness.

Manolis and Roberts' findings confirm that both materialism and compulsive buying have a negative impact on teenagers' happiness. The more materialistic they are and the more they engage in compulsive buying, the lower their happiness levels.

In addition, time affluence moderates the negative consequences of both materialism and compulsive buying in this group. Specifically, moderate time affluence i.e. being neither too busy, nor having too much spare time, is linked to higher levels of happiness in materialistic teenagers and those who are compulsive buyers.

Moderate time affluence. That's the state to strive for. I'm feeling too time unaffluent myself. How about you?

I'm guessing those with too much time on their hands have more time to think about what they want to buy but not enough money to buy it. Better to be busy if you are poor.

Those who suffer from time pressures and think materialistically and/or purchase compulsively feel less happy compared with their adolescent counterparts. Equally, having too much free time on their hands exacerbates the negative effects of material values and compulsive buying on adolescent happiness.

Are advertisers becoming more skilled at making people feel frustrated about what they do not have? If everyone turned off their TV would average satisfaction with life go up?

By Randall Parker    2011 October 23 02:02 PM Entry Permalink | Comments (1)
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