Lan Nguyen Chaplin of the Eller College of Management at the University of Arizona and co-author Deborah Roedder John of the University of Minnesota Carlson School of Management studied teens ages 12-18.
Today's adolescents have been characterized as a brand-oriented, who derive self-worth from owning top merchandise and the latest technology devices, the researchers said. The study, scheduled to be published in the Journal of Consumer Psychology, found that teenagers who have supportive and accepting parents and peers are less materialistic.
The teens who received the acceptance teens crave did not need to seek self-worth through material possessions, the researchers said.
"Parents and peers can provide the much needed emotional support and contribute greatly to teenagers' feelings of self-worth," Chaplin said in a statement. "When teens feel better about themselves, they are less likely to feel the need to use material possessions to boost their self-esteem and achieve happiness."