Psychology and Consumer Culture provides an in-depth psychological analysis of consumerism that draws from a wide range of theoretical, clinical, and methodological approaches. The contributors to this edited volume demonstrate that consumerism and the culture that surrounds it exert profound and often undesirable effects on both people's individual lives and on society as a whole. Far from being distant influences, advertising, consumption, materialism, and the capitalistic economic system affect personal, social, and ecological well being on many levels.

Authors address consumerism's effect on everything from culture, ethnicity, and childhood development to consciousness, gender roles, identity, work stress, and psychopathology. Contributors provide a variety of potential interventions for counteracting the negative influence of consumerism on individuals and on society. The book makes a strong case that, despite psychology's past reticence to investigate issues related to consumerism, such topics are crucial to understanding human life in the contemporary age.

Table of Contents



  1. Where Is the Psychology of Consumer Culture?
    —Tim Kasser and Allen D. Kanner

I. Problems of Materialism, Capitalism, and Consumption

  1. Materialistic Values: Their Causes and Consequences
    —Tim Kasser, Richard M. Ryan, Charles E. Couchman, and Kennon M. Sheldon
  2. Why Are Materialists Less Satisfied?
    —Emily C. Solberg, Edward Diener, and Michael D. Robinson
  3. Globalization, Corporate Culture, and Freedom
    —Allen D. Kanner and Renée G. Soule
  4. Shopping for Sustainability: Psychological Solutions to Overconsumption
    —Deborah Du Nann Winter

II. Theoretical Perspectives

  1. Materialism and the Evolution of Consciousness
    —Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
  2. Mindfulness and Consumerism
    —Erika L. Rosenberg
  3. Lethal Consumption: Death-Denying Materialism
    —Sheldon Solomon, Jeff Greenberg, and Thomas A. Pyszczynski

III. Clinical Issues

  1. Acquisitive Desire: Assessment and Treatment
    —Jeffrey Kottler, Marilyn Montgomery, and David Shepard
  2. Self-Control and Compulsive Buying
    —Ronald J. Faber
  3. Money, Meaning, and Identity: Coming to Terms With Being Wealthy
    —Stephen Goldbart, Dennis T. Jaffe, and Joan DiFuria

IV. The Influence of Commercialism on Child Development

  1. The Commercialization of Childhood: Understanding the Problem and Finding Solutions
    —Diane E. Levin and Susan Linn
  2. Commercialism's Influence on Black Youth: The Case of Dress-Related Challenges
    —Velma D. LaPoint, and Priscilla J. Hambrick-Dixon
  3. "The More You Subtract, the More You Add:" Cutting Girls Down to Size
    —Jean Kilbourne

Author Index

Subject Index

About the Editors

Editor Bios

Tim Kasser, PhD, graduated from Vanderbilt University, summa cum laude with Honors in Psychology, in 1988. Six years later, he received his PhD in Psychology from the University of Rochester. In 1995 he accepted a position at Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois, where he is currently an associate professor of psychology. He has authored over thirty scientific articles and book chapters on materialism, values, and goals, among other topics. His first book, The High Price of Materialism, was published in 2002.

Allen D. Kanner, PhD, received his undergraduate (1974) and graduate (1981) psychology degrees from the University of California, Berkeley and was a postdoctoral fellow in clinical child psychology at McLean Hospital, Harvard Medical School (1981-1983). Early in his career he developed both the adult and children's Hassles and Uplifts Scales and was on staff at Children's Hospital at Stanford University. In the last decade, he has helped establish the field of ecopsychology, within which he has focused on consumerism, ecofeminism, society's narcissistic relationship with nature, and extinction. He teaches at both the Wright Institute and Saybrook Graduate School and Research Center, and is in private practice in Berkeley, CA. He is coeditor of Ecopsychology: Restoring the Earth, Healing the Mind.