Consumer possessions, consumer passions, and subjective well-being

Ralph Salvador Oropesa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


Speculation about the linkages between consumer products, consumption-related attitudes, and subjective well-being is prominent in the social sciences. This paper examines three issues in this literature using data collected in 1989 and 1990. The first issue is whether the accumulation and anticipated accumulation of different types of consumer goods foster subjective well-being. Second is whether accumulation and anticipated accumulation explain the well-established relationship between income and subjective well-being. These issues are explored with two alternative measures that incorporate different assumptions about the relative importance of ownership and the newness of products. The third issue is whether "passions for the new" are positively or negatively related to subjective well-being. Although some results indicate that the heavy theoretical emphasis on the importance of consumer markets for subjective well-being and the income-subjective well-being relationship is overdrawn, others provide weak support for a market-centric perspective that emphasizes the positive consequences of accumulating different types of consumer goods. Different types of consumer goods fill different niches in individuals' lives as they age. Lastly, the passion for new experiences in the marketplace is positively related to subjective well-being.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)215-244
Number of pages30
JournalSociological Forum
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1 1995

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science


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