The person with the best car and the best outfit may actually be depressed and discontent.
New studies by Baylor University shows materialistic people are less likely to be grateful and more likely to be miserable.
“I think people my age are extremely materialistic,” said Shereen Worrell, a 22-year-old paralegal education student at Humber College.
Researchers examined 246 young adults around the age of 21. Each participant completed an online survey, which assessed overall satisfaction with life.
“On a scale of one to 10, I think people our age rank a seven when it comes to materialism,” said Ramanpreet Kaur, a Project Management student at Humber.
“Materialism is linked to depression because people think that material possessions will fill a void or alleviate stress,” said Dr. Dan Andreae, a psychology professor at University of Guelph-Humber.
He said it is a vicious cycle and when people realize materialism is not giving them what they are looking for, depression may set in.
“Social media helps to exaggerate the amount of stuff people have or have done. On Facebook, people can communicate with large audiences and this breeds competition and jealousy,” said Dr. Andreae.
“I compare myself to others using social media all the time. It is hard not to,” said Worrell.
If a person is wearing a Gucci suit and has a Rolex watch, we automatically assume that he or she has made it and is happy – but sometimes this is not the case, said Dr. Andreae.
“I feel down when I see something that I can’t have as a student,” said Rakhi Arora, an Early Childhood Education student.
Arora, like Worrell, admitted to comparing herself to others while using sites like Instagram and Facebook.
“Our culture emphasizes exchange of goods and services. To a large degree we are committed to and depend on materialism,” Dr. Andreae said.
The study will be published in July of 2014 within the Personality and Individual Differences Journal.