The Recession Made U.S. Teenagers Less Materialistic

The Great Recession partially reversed a decades-long trend among U.S. adolescents toward greater materialism and less concern for others, according to a study led by Heejung Park of UCLA that analyzed surveys from thousands of high-school seniors. For example, results from the 2008–2010 downturn, in comparison with the 2004–2006 period, showed a decline in the importance of owning expensive items such as new cars; meanwhile, the average view of the importance of having “a job that is worthwhile to society” rose from 3.15 to 3.21 on a 1-to-4 scale, and agreement with ‘‘I would be willing to eat less meat and more grains and vegetables, if it would help provide food for starving people’’ rose from 3.51 to 3.59 on a 1-to-5 scale. Past research has shown that a decline in economic wealth promotes collectivism.

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SOURCE: The Great Recession: Implications for Adolescent Values and Behavior

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