Once basic needs are satisfied, the relation between income and subjective well-being is small, and materialism leads to diminished well-being. This study attempts to determine: (1) whether experiential purchases, as opposed to materialistic purchases, are likely to increase well-being and (2) whether these increases are likely to be due to increased satisfaction of psychological needs and/or decreased social comparison. Participants indicated that experiential purchases represented money better spent, brought more happiness to themselves, and brought more happiness to others. Path models demonstrated that experiential purchases had an indirect effect on one’s well-being through two independent paths: (1) increased relatedness, which then led to increased vitality, and (2) decreased social comparison. Discussion focuses on why vitality and social comparison affect well-being.
Howell, R. T., &Hill, G. (2009). The mediators of experiential purchases: Determining the impact of psychological needs satisfaction and social comparison. The Journal of Positive Psychology, 4(6), 511-522.