Too Materialistic to Get Married and Have Children?

LI, Norman P., Singapore Management University
Amy J. Y. LIM

The research dataset for this publication is available for download at:


We developed new materials to induce a luxury mindset and activate materialistic values, and examined materialism's relationship to attitudes toward marriage and having children in Singapore. Path analyses indicated that materialistic values led to more negative attitudes toward marriage, which led to more negative attitudes toward children, which in turn led to a decreased number of children desired. Results across two studies highlight, at the individual level, the tradeoff between materialistic values and attitudes toward marriage and procreation and suggest that a consideration of psychological variables such as materialistic values may allow for a better understanding of larger-scale socioeconomic issues including low fertility rates among developed countries. We discuss implications and describe how psychological factors relating to low fertility fit within evolutionary mismatch and life history theory frameworks.