Does Materialism Hinder Relational Well-Being? The Role of Culture and Social Motives

Jiah Yoo, Yuri Miyamoto, Uwana Evers, Julie Lee, Nancy Wong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Materialism has often been pitted against relational well-being. However, it is unclear if such a negative relationship exists in East Asian cultures where personal goals and values tend to be shaped by social motives. In three studies, we tested the association between materialism and relational well-being across multiple individualistic and collectivistic cultures and further studied the role of social motives for materialism. In Study 1a, materialism predicted relational well-being negatively in the US but not in Japan. In Study 1b, we replicated the findings of Study 1a with Chinese and the US adults showing that materialism predicted relational well-being differently between the two cultures. Lastly in Study 2, Chinese reported higher social motives for materialism than European Americans, and such difference explained cultural moderation of the link between materialism and relational well-being. The studies suggest that cultural contexts and social motives play important roles in relational well-being of materialistic individuals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)241-261
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Happiness Studies
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2021


  • Culture
  • Materialism
  • Relational well-being
  • Social motives

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)

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