Volume 5, Article 10
Why do materialistic values undermine flow experiences? The role of self-regulatory resources
Amy Isham, Birgitta Gatersleben and Tim Jackson
Citation: Isham, A., Gatersleben, B., & Jackson T. (2021). ‘Why do materialistic values undermine flow experiences? The role of self-regulatory resources.’ European Journal of Applied Positive Psychology, 5, 10, 1-12. https://www.nationalwellbeingservice.org/volumes/volume-5-2021/volume-5-article-10/
Processing dates: Submitted: 21st October 2020; Re-submitted: 8th December 2020; Accepted: 28th January 2021; Published: 10th August 2021
Copyright © 2021. Amy Isham, Birgitta Gatersleben, & Tim Jackson. Published in European Journal of Applied Positive Psychology. Published by National Wellbeing Services Ltd. This article is licensed under a CC BY 4.0 license. Full terms of licence: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/ The dataset associated with this paper is open and available at: https://osf.io/gtjz6/
Aims: Research has shown that the possession of materialistic values can lead individuals to be less likely to experience flow, an important component of well-being. In this
research, we test whether a lack of self-regulatory resources, and a tendency to use self regulatory resources for avoidance purposes, can mediate this relationship.
Methods: A representative sample of 2000 adults in the UK completed an online survey. Results were analysed using structural equation modelling.
Results: Materialistic values were related to a heightened tendency to dedicate self-regulatory resources towards the avoidance of negative states, which in turn was linked to
lower levels of self-regulatory strength. Low levels of self-regulatory strength were related to a reduced tendency to experience flow.
Discussion: The findings provide new insights surrounding the factors and processes that hinder and enhance the creation of flow experiences. In doing so, they suggest suitable routes to promoting flow experiences in materialistic individuals, which in turn should improve their well-being.
Conclusions: Reducing the desire to avoid negative experiences could encourage flow experiences by enhancing self-regulatory resources. Future research is needed to test the causal nature of these relationships.
Keywords: materialistic values, flow, self-regulation, experiential avoidance
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Amy Isham is with the Centre for the Understanding of Sustainable Prosperity (CUSP), University of Surrey, Guildford, GU2 7XH, UK
Birgitta Gatersleben is with the School of Psychology, University of Surrey, Guildford, GU2 7XH, UK
Tim Jackson is with the Centre for the Understanding of Sustainable Prosperity (CUSP), University of Surrey, Guildford, GU2 7XH, UK