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Leisure, materialism, wellbeing and the environment

Gatersleben, Birgitta, Jackson, Tim, Meadows, Jesse, Soto, Elena and Yang, Ying (Lily) (2018) Leisure, materialism, wellbeing and the environment European Review of Applied Psychology / Revue Européenne de Psychologie Appliquée, 68 (3). pp. 131-139.

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There are increasing concerns that people in modern societies spend too much of their leisure time on activities such as shopping and watching television and that this undermines human wellbeing and damages the environment.


This paper explores the relationships between materialism, environmental values and life satisfaction on the one hand, and different forms of leisure activities on the other. In particular, it addresses the differences between serious or intrinsically motivating leisure activities and casual or extrinsically motivating activities.


Three survey studies were conducted among 16 to 25 year olds in the UK (n = 338), Spain (n = 417) and China (n = 961).


Reading books was negatively related to materialism and positively to environmental values and behaviours. Playing sports was associated with higher wellbeing. Moreover, materialism was negatively associated with environmental values and behaviour. Life satisfaction was higher among those with stronger environmental values and weaker materialism.


The findings suggest that sustainable lifestyles, characterised by higher wellbeing, higher environmental concern and behaviour and lower materialism can be found in each nation. Moreover, such lifestyles are associated with different kinds of leisure engagement. Examining the potentially positive role of reading books rather than being immersed in screen time deserves further attention.

Item Type: Article
Divisions : Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences > School of Psychology
Authors :
Meadows, Jesse
Soto, Elena
Yang, Ying (Lily)
Date : 20 July 2018
Funders : Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)
DOI : 10.1016/j.erap.2018.06.002
Copyright Disclaimer : © 2018. This manuscript version is made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license
Related URLs :
Depositing User : Clive Harris
Date Deposited : 18 Jun 2018 09:52
Last Modified : 16 Jun 2019 02:08

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