Consumer culture: How `look cool` pressure can lead to downward spiral for kids

Washington D.C, Sept 13 (ANI): You may want to keep your child from feeling the pressure to be cool and look good as a new study has revealed that it is detrimental to many children and teenagers.

The University of Sussex study shows that, while many young people buy into consumer culture believing it will make them feel better about themselves and help them to make friends, often the reverse happens.

The result is a negative downward spiral, say the researchers, whereby those with low well-being turn to consumerist values, which impacts further still upon their state of mind.

In a UK study of 1,000 children aged 8-14 over three years, being disruptive, having ‘cool stuff’ and looking good was often seen as the best way to become more popular among peers.

The results, however, show that valuing these behaviours actually has the opposite effect, with peer relations worsening over time for those kids turning to consumer-culture values.

There are also some interesting differences between boys and girls: depressive symptoms in boys tend to predict increases in their materialism, whereas depressive symptoms in girls tend to predict the internalisation of appearance concerns.

Researcher Matthew Easterbrook said that the results suggest that children who have low levels of well-being are particularly likely to become orientated towards consumer culture, and thus enter into a negative downward spiral.

The research was presented at the British Psychological Society’s Developmental and Social Psychology Section annual conference. (ANI)

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