Affluenza: A World Values Test

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A secondary analysis of the European and World Values Surveys finds heavy television viewers are less likely than light television viewers to select an anti-acquisition national goal. Heavy viewers were also more likely than light viewers to report they are unhappy and dissatisfied both with their financial state and life overall. A nation-by-nation analysis of ‘affluenza’ (consumerist/materialist/acquisition values purportedly spread by heavy exposure to television) found few links to television viewing, but nations with heavier television viewing also were less happy. Television viewing, age, income and religiosity had little predictive value for pro-acquisition sentiments. The author concludes cultivation theory is too simple and inexact to explain any ‘affluenza’ effect. The author finds tantalizing clues of such an effect, and suggests techniques for future research.

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