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Supportive parents can stop teenagers from becoming materialistic

Parents and peers can provide the support and acceptance that teens crave, which reduces their need to focus on expensive material goods as a substitute for self-worth.

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Supportive parents can help teenagers from becoming materialistic, a new study claims.

University of Arizona marketing researcher Lan Nguyen Chaplin claims that adolescents of this age have been characterized as the most materialistic generation in history.

He insists parents have a very important role to play.

Chaplin said, "Instead of just looking at how parents and peers encourage materialism in teenagers, we also examine how they decrease materialism. We view parents and peers as important sources of emotional support and psychological well-being, which ultimately affects teenagers' level of materialism. We find that supportive parents and peers boost adolescents' self-esteem, which decreases their need to embrace material goods as a way to develop positive self-perceptions."

Chaplin and co-author Deborah Roedder John of the University of Minnesota Carlson School of Management, studied 12- to 18-year-olds and found that it is possible for parents to reduce their adolescents' drive for material goods.

They found that teenagers who have supportive and accepting parents and peers in their lives are less materialistic. Parents and peers can provide the support and acceptance that teens crave, which reduces their need to focus on expensive material goods as a substitute for self-worth.

Chaplin explained, "Parents and peers play a very important role in teenagers' lives. They provide the much needed emotional support and contribute greatly to teenagers' feelings of self-worth. When teens feel better about themselves, they are less likely to feel the need to use material possessions to boost their self-esteem and achieve happiness."

The paper titled, "Interpersonal Influences on Adolescent Materialism: A New Look at the Role of Parents and Peers," will soon be published in the Journal of Consumer Psychology.

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