Individuals with high levels of externally contingent self-worth tend to base their self-esteem on factors such as appearance, competitive success, and others’ approval. Such tendencies might also elevate people’s focus on material possessions. However, cultural moderation of these associations has yet to be explored. A cross-cultural survey among Chinese and Dutch college students examined the link between externally-based contingent self-worth and materialistic values, as well as the mediating roles of need to belong and need for self-enhancement. An initial multi-group path analysis indicated a stronger link between externally contingent self-worth and materialism for Chinese students than for Dutch students. For both Chinese and Dutch students, externally contingent self-worth was positively related to materialistic values, need to belong, and need for selfenhancement. Need to belong and need for self-enhancement were positively linked with materialism, and need to belong and need for self-enhancement mediated the link between externally contingent self-worth and materialism. Though the indirect effect via selfenhancement was somewhat stronger among Chinese participants, this research demonstrates that people’s externally contingent selfworth might be a factor predicting materialism across cultures, with need to belong and need for self-enhancement playing similar roles as underlying processes in different societies.

Externally contingent selfworth, need to belong, need for self-enhancement, materialistic values, crosscultural research
hdl.handle.net/1765/133323
The Journal of Psychology: interdisciplinary and applied
Department of Media and Communication

Zhang, Y., Hawk, S., Opree, S.J., de Vries, D., & Branje, S. (2020). “Me,” “we,” and materialism: Associations between contingent self-worth and materialistic values across cultures. The Journal of Psychology: interdisciplinary and applied, 154(5), 386–410. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/1765/133323