Is gratitude an alternative to materialism?

Emily L. Polak, Michael E. McCullough

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

70 Scopus citations


Materialistic strivings have been implicated as a cause of unhappiness. Gratitude, on the other hand - both in its manifestations as a chronic affective trait and as a more temporary emotional experience - may be a cause of happiness. In the present paper we review the empirical research on the relationships among materialism, gratitude, and well-being. We present new correlational data on the gratitude-materialism relationship and propose that gratitude may have the potential to reduce materialistic strivings and consequently diminish the negative effects of materialistic strivings on psychological well-being. We conclude with some recommendations for future research on the relationships among gratitude, materialism, and well-being.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)343-360
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Happiness Studies
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2006


  • Gratitude
  • Happiness
  • Materialism
  • Positive psychology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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