PSYCHOLOGICAL COSTS OF MATERIAL WEALTH. WHY AREN'T WE HAPPIER, THE RICHER WE ARE?
The article explains why the growth of material wealth is not accompanied in a direct way by a growth of psychological well-being. The authoress, drawing conclusions from existing results of numerous research projects, proposes two explanations of the phenomenon. According to the first one - the 'saturation' hypothesis - the quality of life, determined by material wealth, reaches its natural top limit at a certain point and at this point further prospects for gaining more happiness in connection with the material standard of living simply come to an end, there are no further possibilities to achieve any greater life satisfaction from possessed goods. The second explanation is the hypothesis of psychological costs of material wealth. It assumes that there are some domains around material wealth where people experience additional psychological costs, therefore the balance of growing material standards is not fully positive. These psychological costs of material wealth have their roots in such factors as: perception of discrepancies in wealth, the nature of material goals, an individual level of materialism, a type of motivation for acquiring material possession, a value conflict, a form of making use of material resources and a cultural context.
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