Pressure to be cool and look good is detrimental to many children
(Press-News.org) The pressure to be cool, look good and own the 'right stuff' is detrimental to many children and teenagers, according to new research by University of Sussex psychologists.
The 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 tends to predict increases in their materialism, whereas depressive symptoms in girls tends to predict the internalisation of appearance concerns.
The research will be presented today (Friday 11 September) at the British Psychological Society's Developmental and Social Psychology Section annual conference.
Dr Matthew Easterbrook, Lecturer in Psychology at the University of Sussex, will present some of the findings at the conference. He says: "Our 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.
"Consumer culture may be perceived as a coping mechanism by vulnerable children, but it is one that is detrimental to their well-being."
Professor Robin Banerjee, Professor of Developmental Psychology at the University of Sussex, will also present at the conference, focusing on the impact of consumer culture on popularity. He says: "Our study shows how consumer-culture values are tied up with images of social success in childhood.
"Although friendly and helpful children were ultimately more popular over time, young people mistakenly predicted that the route to being liked was in having a reputation for disruptive behaviour, having 'cool' stuff and looking good.
"What we found was another example of a downward spiral - those rejected by peers then turned to consumer culture, which actually worsened, rather than improved, those relationships."
Dr Mark Wright, now a lecturer in psychology at the University of Brighton, will also present the findings of a related study, which found that, while damaging for both groups, fashion models were more resilient than other young women to the emotional impacts of the pursuit of the perfect appearance. The impact on their well-being was mediated to some degree by their greater sense of belonging, the study found.
The latest research is part of a wider project at the University, led by Sussex psychologist Dr Helga Dittmar, that is systematically examining the impact of consumer-culture ideals on children's personal and social well-being.
Notes to editors
University of Sussex media relations contacts: James Hakner (01273 877966) and Jacqui Bealing (01273 877437) - email@example.com.
The University of Sussex was the first of the new wave of UK universities founded in the 1960s, receiving its Royal Charter in August 1961. It is among the leading research universities in the UK, with 98 per cent of its research rated as world leading, internationally excellent or internationally recognised (REF 2014). The Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2014 rank Sussex as 14th in the UK, 43rd in Europe and 111th in the world.
The British Psychological Society is the representative body for psychology and psychologists in the UK. We are responsible for the development, promotion and application of psychology for the public good. For more information please visit http://www.bps.org.uk
Follow BPSOfficial on Twitter and Facebook.
ELSE PRESS RELEASES FROM THIS DATE:
Boston, MA -- Students with less than 20 minutes to eat school lunches consume significantly less of their entrées, milk, and vegetables than those who aren't as rushed, according to a new study from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
The study will appear online Friday, September 11, 2015 in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
"Many children, especially those from low-income families, rely on school meals for up to half their daily energy intake so it is essential that we give students a sufficient amount of time to eat their lunches," ...
PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA (11 September 2015)--Over one million people in sub-Saharan Africa will contract malaria this year because they live near a large dam, according to a new study which, for the first time, has correlated the location of large dams with the incidence of malaria and quantified impacts across the region. The study finds that construction of an expected 78 major new dams in sub-Saharan Africa over the next few years will lead to an additional 56,000 malaria cases annually.
The research, published in this month's Malaria Journal, has major implications ...
The need to be constantly available and respond 24/7 on social media accounts can cause depression, anxiety and reduce sleep quality for teenagers says a study being presented today, Friday 11 September 2015, at a British Psychological Society conference in Manchester.
The researchers, Dr Heather Cleland Woods and Holly Scott of the University of Glasgow, provided questionnaires for 467 teenagers regarding their overall and night-time specific social media use. A further set of tests measured sleep quality, self-esteem, anxiety, depression and emotional investment in ...
Scientists have developed a new technique that produces a user friendly, low cost, tissue-engineered pseudo-organ. The chip-based model produces a faithful mimic of the in vivo liver inside a scalable fluid-handling device, demonstrating proof of principle for toxicology tests and opening up potential use in drug testing and personalised medicine.
The results are published today, Friday 11th September, in the journal Biofabrication.
The work was done by researchers based at the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine and the Virginia Tech-Wake Forest University ...
Scientists have made promising steps in developing a new magnetic memory technology, which is far less susceptible to corruption by magnetic fields or thermal exposure than conventional memory.
The findings, which report the use of magnetic permeability - how easily a magnetic field will magnetize a material - are published today, Friday 11th September, in the Journal of Physics D: Applied Physics.
These findings open up a new approach to a variety of applications from high-density radiation hard memory suitable for space travel to more secure ID cards.
In conventional ...
Eating a lot of fish may help curb the risk of depression--at least in Europe--suggests a pooled analysis of the available evidence, published online in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health.
The association between a fishy diet and mental health appears to be equally significant among men and women, the first analysis of its kind indicates.
Depression affects an estimated 350 million people worldwide, and is projected to become the second leading cause of ill health by 2020.
Several previous studies have looked at the possible role of dietary factors in ...
Working 12+ hour shifts is linked to a heightened risk of burnout, job dissatisfaction, and intention to leave among hospital nurses in 12 European countries, finds research published in the online journal BMJ Open.
The findings run counter to the perceived value among both nurses and employers of working longer shifts, which are increasingly common practice in England, Ireland, and Poland, say the researchers.
Job satisfaction and burnout are global concerns in the nursing workforce, because of the potential impact they have not only on the quality and safety of patient ...
A wide range of avoidable risk factors to health - ranging from air pollution to poor diets to unsafe water - account for a growing number of deaths and a significant amount of disease burden, according to a new analysis of 79 risks in 188 countries.
High blood pressure was the number-one individual risk factor associated with global deaths in 2013, contributing to 10.4 million deaths around the world that year. High blood pressure's impact on mortality grew by 49.1% between 1990 - when it was also the number-one global risk - and 2013. While this risk heavily impacts ...
DALLAS, Sept. 10, 2015 -- Are you getting enough quality sleep? Are you sleeping longer than you should? Poor sleep habits may put you at higher risk for early signs of heart disease when compared to those who get adequate, good quality sleep, according to a study published in the American Heart Association journal Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology.
"Inadequate sleep is a common problem and a likely source of poor health, including visible signs of disease, such as heart attack," said Chan-Won Kim, M.D., study co-lead author and clinical associate professor ...
DALLAS, Sept. 10, 2015 - For better cardiovascular health, check your gut. Bacteria living in your gut may impact your weight, fat and good cholesterol levels, factors necessary to help maintain a healthy heart, according to new research in Circulation Research, an American Heart Association journal.
"Our study provides new evidence that microbes in the gut are strongly linked to the blood level of HDL (good cholesterol) and triglycerides and may be added as a new risk factor for abnormal blood lipids, in addition to age, gender, BMI and genetics," said Jingyuan Fu, Ph.D., ...
LAST 30 PRESS RELEASES: