Exposure to advertising linked with ‘lower life satisfaction’

New research published in Pediatrics journal has suggested that children who are frequently exposed to advertising have lower life satisfaction and are more materialistic.

Exposure to advertising linked with ‘lower life satisfaction’

by Louise-Anne Geddes, Mindful Mum, 17th September 2012

The study aimed to examine the relationship between materialism and life satisfaction, and whether this was linked to a child’s level of exposure to advertising.  According to the researchers from The Amsterdam School of Communication Research ASCoR, University of Amsterdam, Netherlands, research among adults suggests that materialism and life satisfaction negatively influence each other, causing a downward spiral.

Negative effect on materialism

An online survey in two parts was completed by a sample group of 466 children.  They were asked questions about their possessions, how happy they were in their lives, and advertising.


The researchers observed no effect of materialism on life satisfaction.  They did find, however, that life satisfaction had a negative effect on materialism, and that exposure to advertising ‘facilitated’ this effect.  They claim that they ‘only found an effect of life satisfaction on materialism for children who were frequently exposed to advertising’.


It was concluded that life satisfaction leads to decreased materialism only in children who are frequently exposed to television advertising.   The researchers say that ‘it is plausible that the material values portrayed in advertising teach children that material possessions are a way to cope with decreased life satisfaction. It is important to reduce this effect, because findings among adults suggest that materialistic children may become less happy later in life. Various intervention strategies are discussed’.

Source:  Pediatrics, Lower Life Satisfaction Related to Materialism in Children Frequently Exposed to Advertising, September 2012

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